I made a rookie mistake today. I tried to rush the Trail and that just doesn’t work. I slept in a barn on some property along the Blue Ridge Parkway last night that a guy opens up to cyclists and hikers. It wasn’t much but it was nice of him to offer the place. I was joined by Pancho, Astronaut and Jelly Fish. Pancho isn’t hiking but driving around and helping out with resupply. He offered to slack pack me into Waynesboro so I could knock out the 22 miles fast. Slack packing is when you carry just the essential food and water that you need that day. This was my first go at this and it was awesome to drop fro 35 lbs to less than 2!
It was really cool heading out so early and I loved hiking all alone pre-dawn. I ran most of the way and listened to music and then realized pretty quickly that this wasn’t going to be a lot of fun. The speed was nice but I was missing so much on the Trail. Trying to hike the trail fast just meant a lot of painful climbs and dangerous descents. I was missing all the good stuff. The wildflowers have gone crazy the last few days and there is so much to look at. About 3 hours into the hike/run, I gave up on racing it and decided to slow down and take more pictures and enjoy the Trail.
Scott Jurek completed the Appalachian Trail in 46 days and 11 hours back in 2015. It’s crazy impressive but I can’t help think about how much he missed. For me, this adventure is mostly about slowing down and letting the Trail show me what it has to offer. Sure, you can try to push through this as quickly as possible but then it just becomes another race. Those I know about. This approach is new to me and so far it’s been fantastic.
I got into Waynesboro today and am going to take a zero. I had a great call with my friend Leslie from Kutak. It was fun to connect with her but pretty alarming to hear how much life has changed since the virus. Her sweet family has had to separate to keep everyone safe. Her husband Bennett is a DeKalb County firefighter and is constantly exposed to the virus so Leslie and her children are living in Tallahassee for the time being. It’s so hard to hear these stories but she was the first to admit that their burden through all of this is doesn’t compare to others. We both agreed that we have so much to be grateful for. I miss Leslie and talking to her makes me homesick but I know how lucky I have it to be out here during this whole mess.
Mallwallker’s brother and cousin met him here in Waynesboro and they are going to hike together for the next week and then we are going to meet up closer to Harpers Ferry. Astronaut and Jellyfish are going to head out with me on Wednesday. The Trail is starting to feel much more alive. Some hikers are starting to return after leaving for the virus. I’m hoping that means that my buddies that wanted to hike might be able to join me. Anyone else out there want to hike a bit? Come on! I’ll teach you the lingo and we’ll find a fun trail name for you. Bring some Sour Patch kids!