Sunday, January 19, 2014

To trudge

May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh, how far you are from home

May it be the shadow's call
Will fly away
May it be you journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

- Enya, "May It Be"

I gotta say, listening to The Lord of the Rings soundtrack while hiking over sweeping vistas was one of the best decisions I made all week. But oh, Pennsylvania... Pennsylvania. 

The rocks of PA are eating my feet alive. Every variety of rock you can think of to send a jolt of pain through your body and a bout of frustration through your mind. Being on the Appalachian Trail is always a beautiful thing, truly, but I honestly can't wait to be out of the Keystone State. Soon enough, I will be reaching the Mason-Dixon Line, and I will be back on southern ground, a land filled with easier hitch-hiking, free refills, and pronunciations of Appalachian as "app-a-LATCH-un" rather than "app-a-LAY-shun." I'm looking forward to being that much closer to my home. 

The day I crossed the Delaware was one of my coldest yet, then it kind of warmed up for about a week, and then it recently got really cold again. This morning was a brutal one. I had about six miles to go before coming to town, so I hit the trail at sunrise and began trudging and slogging and sliding through the snowy, rocky slopes. Icicles returned to my mustache as the wind pounded my exposed face. It was the type of cold that causes splitting headaches. The only other experience I can relate it to is when we surf off the northern Oregonian coast. Even though we typically have a full body wetsuit, the face is exposed, and when you are pounded with a wave or go underwater, the bitter cold hits you like an icy sledgehammer. It's exhilarating and dizzying and downright painful all at the same time, and this was the sensation I had earlier this morning. 

I haven't seen any more bears since the last one, though I am constantly hoping for another sighting. However, I have been hearing more coyotes during the night. Always a slightly creepy but fascinating sound.

Other than that, not too much to report. It continues to be a day by day feat, and I try to celebrate and anticipate every little victory and milestone as they come. It's been bittersweet reminiscing and revisiting sights and sounds from our 2012 trek. Most places I come to, I can remember exactly what we were doing and how we were feeling and who we were with at that exact point, while on the other hand, I come to some stretches of trail with no memory at all, wondering, "Is this a reroute or what?"

And now it's time for me to return to my Nero/Zero day tradition of overeating and flipping back and forth between The Weather Channel and The Big Bang Theory. Goodnight, folks.


  1. Great photos! Looking forward to you crossing the Mason-Dixon Line and hiking continually south bound on the App-a-latch-un Trail. God speed.

  2. Fabulous photos. Love the snow, fog, and even the rocks. Want to be there!

  3. The video moments of still, snowy trees and the snowflakes over the river made me smile. I'd want to stop and stay in a magically-appearing log cabin at places like that. :) Love you.