The sense of accomplishment in their eyes is something that has been making me sad lately; not sad for them, but sad for me because I truly miss that feeling of joy right after I finish a thru-hike! I miss feeling like I can do anything, go anywhere, and accomplish any task. That's not to say that I don't derive satisfaction from building new trail and maintaining my section of the AT, because I do. However, that type of happiness is fleeting, and if I'm being totally honest with myself....I need more!
I need more because there are only a hand full of things that I do well, and thru-hiking the AT is one of them! When I got off the trail in 2011 and bought that Albatross of a house, I told myself that my thru-hiking days were over, and I should just concentrate on giving back to the Appalachian Trail. Indeed, working on the AT, and helping to preserve it for the future has in fact been very gratifying; however, after spending this Summer building trail, helping hikers, and living on the trail here in Maine, there is no question that I need to thru-hike again!
Therefore, on 1 September, I will be stepping off on a Fall/Winter southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail! This particular hike won't be ego driven, or a drunken response to my advancing years, or even because I just like eating ramen noodles every day....it's because I need it to be truly happy again! We all have to face up to what we are sometimes, and I'm a hiker...so I'm doing it again!
So, I'm gonna go to town today, have a nice lunch, drink some Millinocket Martinis; and then tomorrow, I will start to work on getting that look back in my eyes.