Appalachian Trail-iversary: One Year later

One year ago I had landed in Atlanta, Georgia and was giddy excited to start hiking the Appalachian Trail.

I miss the following things about the Appalachian Trail

  • Meeting people of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the country. People I never would have met otherwise. Not discussing politics. 
  • Wearing my hair in braids for weeks at a time
  • Wearing the same skirt and shirt every day. 
  • Sunrises
  • Sunsets
  • camp food
  • town food
  • carrying everything and cutting down on base weight
  • smelling awful and scaring away townies without even realizing how truly awful we smelled
  • laughing until my stomach hurt
  • Green tunnel
  • foggy mornings
  • rainy mornings
  • sunny mornings
  • humid nights
  • campfires
  • wet shoes
  • dry shoes
  • filtering water
  • wildflowers
  • the people. oh god I miss the people. 
  • lazy trail town days
  • resupplying
  • determining if the county we were in was a dry county, and if so, where the nearest liquor store was... will it be a reasonable hitch?
  • hitch hiking
  • hostels with questionable cleanliness
  • hostels that were unquestionably tidy 
  • curling up in my sleeping bag at the end of a long day and spooning with a stranger in the shelter
  • spooning Little Santa in the tent during giant thunderstorms
  • bear bagging my food
  • never doing dishes
  • moving my body all day every day at whatever pace I wanted
  • Bears hate Jimmy Buffett, thinking of other things that bears hate. Using these things as bear repellent
  • seeing tiny towns in Appalachia with nothing but a Dollar General and a church. Wondering what their lives are like, and how they are different from mine
  • listening to Little Santa talk about his plans and ideas
  • hugging Cheeks
  • teasing Wook
  • Laughing with Commando
  • Listening to Packrat
  • Watching Shades run her fingers through her short hair
  • wondering if I would regret cutting all my hair off
  • eating a burger from a gas station sitting on the curb outside
  • looking for power outlets
  • turning your phone off airplane mode in an attempt to post a photo to instagram and having service.
  • never having service. Never talking to the outside world. 
  • laying in bed with headlamps on checking AWOL's guide to see what the elevation was going to be like the next day
  • planning out how many days of food we wanted to carry out of town. 
  • feeling like it was all going by so fast
  • feeling like we had been on the trail forever
  • passing 100 mile markers
  • reading shelter journals
  • writing in shelter journals
  • singing loudly to myself to try to scare away bears, turning the corner and realizing I had reached a very full shelter
  • peeing in the woods and not having a stranger come along to catch me.
  • that one time a stranger did catch me.
  • then that stranger was in the same shelter as me for like the next week because we were hiking the same pace. No longer a stranger. Still a bit strange. 
  • rhodo tunnels
  • blooming everything
  • The Great Smoky Mountains for making me tough
  • The Shenandoah Mountains for being easy
  • every swimming hole I didn't swim in
  • Rhododendron leaves being used to spout water at a water source to make it easier for me to fill my bottle
  • squishy mud
  • wet mud
  • sticky mud
  • dried out mud (just kidding, this doesn't exist)
  • the whole damn thing.