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out of the Smokies Starchild continues on

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Just got through the Smokies. While the trial itself was moderate,
the continuous high altitude, especially when sleeping at 5000-6000 ft
has not given me much ability to recover. As such I have worn myself
out trying to get through and back to a lower elevation which is where
I am now. It has also not given me much time to send these updates,
nor much time for anything but moving and trying to sleep. To help
speed recovery I am taking a 'zero' (zero AT miles) at Hot Springs,
which sleeping in a real bed at lower altitude one night has helped a
lot already, and looking forward to tonight as well before setting off
again tomorrow.

Normally reserved for the end I wish to make my prayer and good
intention request now. For as long as I have been backpacking after
some time I have gotten a sharp pain on my left side between my
shoulder and neck. It is a stabbing sharp pain that required me to
readjust my pack and take some breaks. It sometimes feeling like
someone is twisting a knife in it. In the past I have had a Dr look at
it with no answer. In my own prayers I have gotten a term "sub-dermal
tear". From past prayers it has also gotten better but the AT it
stressing that again and I turn to those who pray for it finally to

Along with that is the ongoing need to reduce travel weight. I have
just as I got to Hot Springs bought some new gear, and sending home
the old to reduce pack weight about 2 pounds, and before that getting
a new pair of hiking boots which also effectively reduces pack weight
another pound, but unfortunately these are expensive reductions, so I
am hoping that the reduced weight and recovery will translate to much
easier miles.

I wish to thank those who have sent care packages, I just got 2 from
my last emailing, one a few days ago and one here at Hot Springs.
Well both were multiple packages. It is very evident that those who
wish to help do so with overflowing care, everyone has really given
over the top. In the past I have sent a list of consumables, things I
need for my trail travels, but really needed to reduce weight I would
request that those who send things really cut back on the quantity,
perhaps limited it to one item to be used at the receiving point and
one light weight item to consume along the trail, and instead of many
other items that are hard for me to carry, an offer to pay for some of
my in town expenses, such as recently for my hostel stay, would be
greatly appreciated (other suggestions contributing to dinner, shuttle
or just some expense). This would also help me reduce my pack weight
which also will reduce the strain on my shoulder area, and also basic
supplies I can readily obtain exactly what I need in the right
quantity, it is the treats of the trail town I have found is what is
really appreciated.

My next big challenge is getting to Erwin, which like the Smokies has
it's own risk, a 24 flu virus that has effected many AT Thru hikers in
this next section. There are warning not to stay at the shelters
along the way, to camp instead, so that is a additional prayer
request, for me and the other AT hikers. It is also a long way
between resupply, about the same as the Smokies, 4 days between towns
assuming about 15 miles a day. After Erwin, the largest next stop is
Damascus, though that is looking a bit far ahead.

Besides the physical journey is my own personal spiritual journey, to
better understand the brother/sisterhood of humanity, the human
family. In that I have seen what I consider some unhealthy social
structures that I chose not to be a part of. Though
some others who are more open, but less organized. It is with that
latter group that I am finding greater kinship and acceptance. And
although they don't actually stay together there seems to be a guiding
force that has them group together naturally. Either way the support
structure is something I need (again prayer request)

Part of that being included and not being out here just on my own is
the message I have been getting is to 'be myself '. And to do that it
is needed to ' know myself'. To be accepted for who one is one must be
who one is. So the question is 'Who is Starchild'. Shortly after
getting the name 'Starchild' from the AT , I received this: 'Out of
the sacred coupling of Mother Earth and the Celestial Father is
birthed the Starchild. A hybrid being of earthly incarnation seeded by
the stars, he fulfills the promise of the millenium. A bridge between
the old earth and the new earth. A soul no longer fully at home on
this planet, but tuned to the music of the spheres. Listening,
listening ever more deeply for the sounds of home'- Earial 2005. I
knew this before I got my name, and after seeing this I knew that is
who I am at heart, and my search for 'home', which I have never felt
fully at home here, yet more at home at times on the AT then anywhere
else. It is that being Starchild, who my heart is, that has and is
opening doors for greater fellowship. Also who I feel I must be to
obtain this, what I have been so long wanting in life, no longer a
alien to this world but accepted for who I am, and why I have taken
this journey.

So my journey continues not just physically, but also on other levels.

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