I am getting a few questions about why I am staying on trail and I wanted to spend an few minutes trying to explain this from the perspective of a hiker. It’s a different world out here. The trail is peaceful, safe and it’s easy to access resupply stores. We are isolated from the virus and are not coming in contact with anyone else except when we get groceries or check into a hotel. The last few days we have only seen a handful of other hikers. We are keeping a safe distance from them and they from us. We minimize our interactions in town and keep our hands clean. We are also isolated from the news and get updates only every few days. This gives us some space to focus on our daily obstacles. They do not involve the virus.
The alternative is to leave the trail and go back to Atlanta where I will be at greater risk and increase the chances of passing it along to others if I get sick. Out here, my days are filled with wide open spaces, clean air and tons of sunshine. I’ve honestly never felt healthier, am eating great food and drinking tons of water. I am staying on trail because it feels like the safest thing for me and everyone else. I am LOVING the long days, cool nights and constant logistical challenges of keeping myself clean, fed and warm. It’s hard work but it is simple and straightforward. There are no nuances out here. You either have enough calories to push that 20 mile day or you don’t.
For me, that has been the most therapeutic thing about the trail. My professional life as a lawyer is filled with complex, fast-moving and uncertain judgment calls with high stakes and delayed satisfactions. My deal closings feel good but they are months apart and there is only so much control I have over their success. Here, I need to find a water source and stay warm at night so I go to the stream and the wrap myself in my sleeping bag. These are immediate and physically satisfying tasks and they are fun to solve.
I’m constantly thinking about what is going on but there isn’t much I can do. I am choosing to stay safe out here and try to do my best to help Bryan and friends from home manage the stress. I hope these blog entries help in some small way. At least as a reminder that everything is working just as it should out here. Spring is coming on strong and the trail is just as beautiful as it always has been. The critters are waking up from the winter and greeting us as we walk through their safe, beautiful and peaceful world. There are open and happy people that are helping us and we are moving forward at a steady pace.
We are taking a nero today in Hampton before pushing 3 days to Damascus. I am getting a new pair of shoes and superfeet inserts there and taking a true zero in a nice B&B. Reaching Virginia will feel great and then will set my sights on the halfway-ish mark of Harpers Ferry.