Monday, June 26, 2017

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

I'm sitting in a McDonald's on the campus of the famous Virginia Tech. I had a coupon for a buy one get one free sandwich, another for a free McCafe. I chose a Pico-Guac lime sandwich with an artisan roll and a Maple Bacon Dijon. Scarfed them both. This has been par for the course with regards to my eating habits, but I keep losing weight.

I'm burnt out on hiking. So far I've hiked 675 miles but this will be the 5th day in a row where I'm not lofting myself down the trail. Money was running low, I had to catch up. As I was sitting at a gas station working on paid writing gigs a man named Tim asked what I was doing. After a short conversation he offered to pay me to do yard work. In total, I earned about $700.00 in 4 days. I replaced my ripped apart shoes, paid my phone bill that had gotten almost two months behind (on my part), and started shopping for a new hiking bag. It was much needed.

I was going to hike out this morning but I decided not to. One more zero. A chance to write, to Tinder, to help out around the house I'm staying at, and to get inspired. Inspiration doesn't come easily.

I have a vlog that documents my journey in a way that is much different than words. I don't reveal my most personal thoughts, in general, but I capture a reduced quality vizualization of my experience. It's nice.

When I first started my journey I was woefully unprepared. The chic at Amicalola Falls asked me if I wanted to do a bag "shakedown." She would have advised me what I should or should not bring. I said "no" for a couple reasons:

1. I started the trail with roughly 300 dollars and my phone bill was approaching. My part of the bill is $150 dollars. I was unprepared and I knew it. I can't buy more stuff.
2. I was self-conscious about the poor quality of the items I was bringing with me.

As you can see in the video as I heroically walk up the approach trail (then ramble back to retrieve my iPad), I started with jeans, a heavy cotton shirt, and Wal-Mart gear. I feel like I'm a way different person, already, than the guy who walked up the approach trail in that state. I've grown comfortable sleeping in all kinds of conditions, with all kinds of people, and cooperating with others in order to reduce my costs and increase the good times.

I also started with an intention of doing low-carb eating. That was a mistake. I fell asleep on Justice Mountain twice. Luckily it also resulted in meeting a friend, Bill Murray (trail name), who pumped me up and encouraged me to keep going. "Don't quit unless the sun is shining, you've had a good nights sleep, and you've just had a good meal." The advice had the intention of creating the conditions that would make you want to keep hiking.

Bill Murray narrates the above video.

There has been one night I was really concerned for my own well being. This was 11 miles outside of Franklin, North Carolina. Ron Havens dropped me off at winding stair gap (or something like it). The temperature was forecast to drop to 20 degrees that night with winds up to 55 mph. "I've saved many a fucktard who got in over their head," said Havens after making sure no females were within earshot. Many a fucktard. On that day, the fucktard might have been me. I set up my tent next to Karma and Braveheart, neither of whom hiked that day (the shelter was full... of assholes who can all fuck off). I left my bag open after having changed into my dry clothes. The wind blew my tent over and I had to camp over the ridge. I shivered until 2 or 3 am and finally got some sleep. The next day Bill Murray paid for a shuttle to the NOC, to my eternal gratitude. That is also the day he had to return to work. The next two videos document that.

One of the most amazing things I have witnessed on the trail was BB King (then just Abby Crawford) carrying two packs down Blood Mountain. Check it out:

I had to miss my daughter's birthday. My daughter is amazing and great. And so is everyone that was willing to say "Happy Birthday" on camera.

I'm kind of in the doldrums right now. I've had a lot of fun on the trail and I want it the fun to keep going. Fun, however, is not the reason for me being on the trail. It happens, though. Check out the following:

I was going to write so much more but I think I'm going to have a seizure from this blog flipping out as I type. IOS iOS is not compatible with fucking blogger. So, until next time.

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