So far, things are as beautiful as ever. I noticed right away how different it feels. Walking past other hikers with a look of hope in their eyes, I stopped to talk to them about it, about that feeling. I remember it well. 10 years ago, I was hopeful… now I’m home, and both are beautiful. Still, I wanted to talk about it. To tell people that they are walking to Maine, that they are thru-hikers. I remember feeling like I was bluffing before, and adding a “hopefully” to the end of the declaration, or “if I can.” I’m glad to be here to say, “You can, of course you can. We will.” Which doesn’t mean I don’t expect a derail-er, it means that I believe in us. This time it feels like I’m flying, like I’m some kind of critter who was made for this. Honestly, I believe we all are. We are born to walk and our hearts know it, just as well as our feet.
I’ve met some great people already. My cousin, Jess, is crushing it! We played a game of cat and mouse where she started 40 miles ahead of me. It took me five days to catch her, and a good effort on all five of them. There was a keep-moving-or-die day (one of my favorite games) in which I had to laugh at myself for inviting the Appalachian Mountains to remind me that they can be cold, no matter what I’m used to. I saw a rattlesnake, fled from a place where I heard ATVs in the middle of the night, had a girls’ night in Hiawase with two amazing women, Titanium and Anita, declared Trevor, the first friend I made under the arch at the very start, with his his two dogs, to be my best buddy out here on the second day, played guitar and sang at a hostel….basically, the AT is already showing me many of it’s colors in the first week. I’m honored to be here.
I am having a hard time keeping on top of writing. I will be bouncing a computer from town to town to try to be on it, but this time, it’s lost in transit. I think that might be the universe telling me to just be here, in Franklin, experiencing the people and the music and the birds. I will try to write more soon. But for now, I feel lucky and alive and appreciate the path. Thank you for walking with me.