Appalachian Trail Mile 1211.1

Saturday, July 29, 2017 (Day 87)

I woke around 9 am, glanced about me, shut my eyes tight.

It did not look bright out there. It sounded windy. My wet clothes lain sopping in the corner…all for .7 miles, I thought.

That’s quite alright. Be thankful it is not raining now…and the wet clothes–character building! The pain is only temporary.

I donned my wet shirt last. The discomfort was brief. I let out a great sigh of relief as I stepped on to the trail, gentle clouds above, magically backlit by a warming sun. Oh, yes! Life is splendid!

I laughed aloud, the sun’s warmth kissing the bare skin of my forearm, then my cheek. Oh, how incredibly sweet!

I had gone but two miles before I came to a road crossing. In the parking area Borg and Whatev sat in foldable chairs under a roadside canopy beside a display of fruit and coffee and tea and chips and gummies and hot dogs and burgers for grilling. Trail Magic! I sat and enjoyed their company and ate my fill of apples and sipped cup after cup of coffee. Other hikers arrived and left. I eventually pulled away as well.

The motivational chills are back. I get them mid-step. Waves of chills felt through the body, dancing on the surface of the skin, setting fire to my will. Chills akin to the ones felt when you hear powerful music of the soul, of unspeakable beauty and influence; the kind that make your eyes water and your hairs stand on end. I laugh.
I planned to stay at a campsite located 20 miles from where I started. I could not locate it under the nightfall. I had passed it, and was not about to turn back around.

I continued down the trail, eyes scouring the dark woods on either side, I strained to see a clear flat space under the light of my headlamp.

I finally decided to sleep atop a bed of fallen leaves, beneath a canopy of low-hanging limbs with interwoven leaves shaped like stars.

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