State of Affairs

I have now completed the Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee sections of the Appalachian Trail. That's over 470 miles that I've hiked in about a month and a half. These milestones don't really tell the full story of what that means to me, though. It is difficult to put into words the sheer enormity of what I'm doing and the impact it is having on my life. I've never done something of quite this scale without it being organized and planned for me. Here, I'm on my own. My choices affect how comfortable I am, my mental well-being, and my spiritual journey.

Each day is new. There is fresh air and ground that hasn't been walked on by me. There are grand vistas, narrow trails barely wide enough to walk with one side dropping down sharply into the valley below, little streams and patches of mud that spring out of the ground, and there are the warm campsites and shelters maintained by the various volunteer organizations that help care for the AT. There are also "trail towns" with outfitters, dollar generals, and restaurants... oh, the restaurants. But the biggest thing to me is that each day is brand new. I might "do" the same thing (hike) but it's a new hike in a new place meeting new people and seeing new sights and for this, I am thankful.

Wildlife I've seen so far: grouse, chipmunk, squirrel, lizards, wild turkey, snake, butterflies, deer, lots of birds, and more insects than I could shake a stick at. No bears yet, sadly.

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