Many Miles

The past week has been a blur. The miles, the sore feet, the amazing sights, the warm nights, the unpredictable rain, and the many attempts to find new trail meals that aren't the same things as usual make the days fly by. I sleep in shelters, tucked tight between other smelly... I mean delightful hikers or I sleep in a tent, always on a not-quite-flat spot of uneven ground with a few well placed roots or small stones. I go days or even weeks wearing the exact same clothes every day and showers require stopping in town for more than just a few hours.

I'm not complaining. Each day is brand new: a new smile to greet with a cheery "Happy trails!" or the quiet conversation among friends who have already said all there is to say but still want to keep you cheered up by just talking to you. There are hiker boxes everywhere full of precious and not-so-precious loot from previous hikers. There are mail packages from family and friends that arrive full of love and tasty treats. And then there is the trail. That incredible trail that greets me each morning full of promises of adventure and sights unseen. I revel in the feel of the ground under my feet. I relax under the beat of the raindrops on my head. The sun drenches me in glorious heat and trees cast breath-giving shadow across my path.

No; I would not trade this life for any other. Take a look at the ponies I got to pet and the flowers I saw so closely. Look at the bridges I get to cross and wooden walkways that carry me over the swampy mud. Look at the chubby rabbits and bright red salamanders I see. The mist sweeping in to cover the trail in front of me and the clouds that drift lazily over mountain tops. The wonderful trail magic left by generous angels and the two hiker TV channels (watching other hikers try to hang their bear bags and watching a fire burn down to cherry red embers as twilight fades to darkness).

Bring on the next 1600ish miles!

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