I was chatting with a friend yesterday and she said something that really stuck with me today. She said that I am truly living in my body on this adventure. I love the way this sounds and it elegantly describes what we’ve been trying to put into words. Mallwalker and I have been talking a lot lately that you really can’t do anything else while hiking the AT. It takes everything you have to feed yourself, rest and hike big miles. I come into camp each day wrung out physically and emotionally. Then I spend the rest of the time putting everything back together to do it all again the next day.
And I love everything about this experience. It’s real, immediate and requires just enough discomfort to make it interesting. I went from a world that was packed with stress and demands that I didn’t really have a lot of control over to the simple joys of just keeping myself healthy and moving forward on the trail. Its sounds simplistic and it is. I think that is the true power of the Trail for me. Push hard every day, head north and follow the blazes. That’s it. My mind slows down and starts to feel so much better.
Today was a great day to think about this. The terrain was gentle, the views were amazing and the weather was cool and sunny. We had some climbs that we really pushed on and then took breaks at the top to catch our breath and soak in the effort. I have always loved the feeling of physical exertion. It feels so honest and clean to me and I always feel great when I get done.
We can across the eastern continental divide and then stopped for lunch at a campsite along a nice creek. I made my favorite hiking meal so far – Outdoor Herbivore Pihoti Queso dip with summer sausage and Sriracha sauce in a tortilla. It was perfect fuel for our climb up to the Audie Murphy memorial. Audie was the most decorated WWII veteran who died in a plane crash in 1971 near this site on the AT. It was a beautiful stone engraving and visitors left sweet notes, dog tags and pictures in honor. We spent a few quiet moments.
We have a big day tomorrow with a lot of cool iconic AT viewpoints to look forward to. Depending on the weather we might even make it to McAfee Knob. But first we are going to treat ourselves to a nice lunch at Catawba Grocery right off the trail. We met a few SOBOs today that said the pizza is amazing. Enough of the deep thoughts – back to food.