Sitting in Harper’s Ferry (mile 1,023) I am fully aware of my lack of updates—at least text-based ones. One would think that with 20+ miles a day alone in the woods I could devote some modicum of my time to enshrining my experiences within the written word. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent literal days writing and rewriting imaginary paragraphs in my head, but somehow every day I roll into camp in the early evening and all I want from this world is roughly 2,000 calories and 10 hours of sleep. I come to this digital linguistic playground begging forgiveness. With head bowed I submit my humble apologies along with an update that will hopefully satiate those of you inclined to worry. May these words paint a small snapshot of the joys and sorrows, the sunshine and deluges, the good and the bad, the smelly and the truly horrendous.
So here it is: one comprehensive update, one soulful outpouring of internal and external insights, one long awaited dirty diatribe.
(Note: photos have no particular order, sense, or relevance to the words in or around them. Enjoy!)
Central VA. Easy trail and perfect weather. The next day it rained 2 inches in a few hours…
So How’s It Going?
In a word? Great! After a thousand miles walking has become second nature. We wake up, groan and howl our discomfort while hobbling around (dubbed the “hiker krump”) taking down our stuff and cramming enough calories down our throats to sustain us until lunch.
Me crushing some pop-tarts at Dragon’s Tooth. Photo by Strider.
The real game is mental at this point. While hiking is still work and big hills still make me sweat, our leg strength and cardiovascular health is truly amazing. Short of true catastrophic injury or bankruptcy there is very little that tangibly stands in our way.
The mind game is where the struggle is. All of us find our ways to keep going and still have fun. Strider chants “This takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I wanted this, I like hiking, I am having fun” a few times every morning. Wet Wipes has taken to carrying around a birthday balloon he was given weeks ago-caring for it as one of his own. Oz contemplates the sheer terror of the mundane world and suddenly twenty miles in the woods doesn’t look so bad. We live to eat. We live to sleep. And misery loves gluttony.
This was cold. I was not happy. At. All. Photo by Legs.
I spend my days actively trying to maintain my sense of curiosity. It’s work to be out here, but consciously fostering a level of wonder and spontaneity is what keeps me going. It also helps that I’ve been walking with the same trail family for nearly 800 miles. Coming into a shelter at night is always fun. We laugh, we cry, we eat, we sleep, we pop blisters, we revel in our filth, we celebrate the big miles, we bemoan the wet parts, and we marvel at our evolving and unique odors.
In short. We hike. And together, we are learning to love it—even the bad bits.
So How’s Your Gear Doing?
So far so good! I sent my waterproof socks, down vest, and sleeves home weeks ago after finishing the Smokies and I have gained a closed-cell-foam pad for sleeping in the rare shelter. Other than that, nothing has changed and I continue to love my hammock with all my heart.
My view. Almost every night.
As it shifts to truly warm weather my sleep system may evolve, but for the next few weeks it will continue to function without drowning me in my own sweat.
Do You Have a Trail Name?
Me. Hampton, VA. Eating a McDouble while doing laundry. Photo by Legs.
Yes. Glim-Glom is my name and I am Glim-Glom. About 900 miles ago we were all sitting around and Darwin could not remember my real name for the life of him. Eventually he proclaimed “if you name was something easy like Glim-Glom, maybe I could remember it!” Two weeks later, the name finally stuck.
Ponies in the Grayson Highlands!
Names out here are beings and powers unto themselves. People slowly mold themselves and their names to fit who they are and what they want to be out here. Glim-Glom (which we have established is actually an honorific, not an actual name) makes sense out here—it doesn’t when you give it when ordering food in town.
How’s the Food?
Salty, sweet, and in quantities that defy certain natural laws. Check out the instagram for more culinary adventures.
Standard 2 day resupply.
Another thousand miles, that’s what’s next! Tomorrow we will be attempting the quad-state challenge. We’ll be walking from Virginia, through all of Weat Virginia and Maryland, and into Pennsylvania. 42.7 miles in less than 24 hours. But first I’m going to eat an entire pizza and probably some mozerella sticks. Priorities.
We didn’t stay here. We did a 10 mile night hike instead. Good decisions.