So I’ve been off the Trail for a few weeks and I’m going through what everyone else has been experiencing since March. I’m surrounded by problems I can’t solve. It’s been a shock to come from the opposite experience on the Trail. Food, water and rest were my challenges that I had to face and I managed them with pride and ease.
I’ve been trying to keep myself as busy as possible. I’m selling bikes, cleaning out drawers and closets and trying to find ways to keep moving forward in a world that seems so out of control. I have finished my course work for my dive instructor certification but the hard part is finding a school that will be operating in the next two months. I’ve contacted course directors in Hawaii, Mexico, California, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. I’ve scoured just about every Caribbean island. It’s the same everywhere I talk to. No one can see even the near future with so many new infections and shut downs. While I still want to try to get this certification done it doesn’t even seem right to keep pursuing it in the middle of all of this sadness.
I decided that the bee thing is for me to get back on the Trail for a few days. So, here I am. Back on the AT in Virginia to re-hike the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge sections with Boogie and Scoobie. They are in their last 300 miles and were happy for me to tag along for some more happy miles. Plus, I packed in some cold Cokes with me! We met at Black Rock Gap and they are doing great. They have been hiking the last two weeks alone and today was their first time back together. It was a blast to hear their rapid fire stories from the last few weeks. So many fun things happen out here and I missed the silly banter and even the terrible hiker food.
We have a fun few days planned and it will be good to hike the Shenandoah legit this time. When I came through in May it was closed and we literally ran through the park in four days dodging rangers. As it turned out, the rangers were not that concerned with thru hikers and tolerated us being out here. It’s strange that we are in an even more dangerous stage of the virus but things are back up and running full speed. I still feel a lot safer out here than in Atlanta and being outside is already pulling me out of the funk I was in the last few days. For the time being, I am back to problems I can solve and it feels good.
I know the trick is to learn to be comfortable with the things we can’t fix. I spent a lot of time working on that in my thru hike and I learned a lot of good things that I can apply. The next few days will be a good chance to reinforce those good habits that I learned on the Trail and bring them home. I need to make careful choices about how much news I consume, spend as much time as possible outside and connect with Bryan. The birds are where I left them and the trees are as solid as ever. This is a place of strength and happiness and I’m thankful I can spend more time here right now.