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Starchild

Starchild

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The AT is a physical and spiritual journey for me a process of discovery and growth. In this message I will speak to both aspects.

It is wonderful to be able to hike this trail even more so is the simply knowing that I am doing exactly what I am to be doing at this moment of time. This feeling hits me often a feeling of great gratitude and deep knowing somehow that I am where I am suppose to be. Other thru hikers have reported similar experiences


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There is not much going on in Atkins VA. Never the less I am impressed with my resolve to move on. I had time to reflect on that. Atkins is a crossroads town. Where the AT Journeyers intersect with those traveling on the interstate - basically a truck stop. Atkins was quite different from other trail towns in that it was not a trail town such as Hot Springs and Damascus nor was it a destination that the AT travels through such as the NOC which is a whitewater rafting destination or Gatlingburg which is a ski and tourist town.

Atkins struck me as a place one does not want to get stuck in though weather was indicating that maybe I should stay I just knew I needed to move on. It was also surprising how such a place effects my mood and I did feel it was depressing to be there. I'm sure that. And though in my last email but that quickly faded as I entered the woods.

I am now past the 1/4 mark on the trail or the half way to the half way point. Perhaps just a random though but it does seem like a major milestone. There is just something about 1/4 and 1/2 that seems more milestone'ish then using 25% and 50% well maybe at least to me...

I typed that about Atkins quite a while back. I am well past that and just noted the desire to move on even when looking at many days before getting back into the next town.

As for how I am doing on the hike. Comparativally very well. I am known as a fast hiker and past most others though I take more stops and most seem to like me. Over the past 4:5 days I completed about a marathon and day carrying the full pack. My pack is also lighter then most others due to some choices I made and some ultra light weight equipment that I got for this journey.

I am also happy to report that the sore spot on my shoulder appears to no longer be a issue as I was able to add a strap to my pack that takes all pressure off of it. I have tried that new strap system for the last four days and was able to go much longer without breaking because of pain. My feet are another issue. I am usin duct tape and rotating through 3 sets of insoles to help manage the sore spots. In the next trail town I am hoping to get better footware.


A while back I mentioned the plague zone, which I am safely out of and did not catch it. In the news about it that this virus caused, well the usually gastric upset with voiding from both ends. A particular statement that caught my intention was hikers were not capable of being as to take care of themselves and help was being given. The statement was true enough. Such illness would quickly deplete any supplies that one required to keep clean and with so many hikers coming down with the condition that even a group that normally would be traveling together would not collectively have enough supplies. Such helplessness does not just extend to such mass illnesses. Our equipment is geared to be as light as possible and there is not much to deal with many situations which can be common such as several days of rain or just getting too much clothes and sleeping gear wet. Even in towns I hardly have enough clothes to wear when I wash some yet it towns there is a need to go out to do things. It showed me how fragile we as thru hikers really are and it is only love of others and thru others that makes this journey possible for many.

Another point of our fragility out here and the necessity for help. Long past Atkins and in the frantic pace of being in a trail town I miscalculated the food needed to make the next resupply. Trying to go as light as possible I calculated out for the food needed for 4 days. What didn't come to mind was I was eating the equivalent of 4 meals per day instead of the usual 3. While I did like the lighter load leaving the town I began to see this and my too rapidly depleting food reserves. This would mean either going hungry for the last day or rationing which would be feeling hungry for the next three. Maybe I could 'yogi' food from others (AT trail talk for 'acquire' as in Yogi bear getting picnic baskets though as practiced on the trail it is done by asking not taking). It could also mean a long hike out to get resupply then a return hike a total of 16 miles that are not on the AT. Setting off today I ran into a group of college students who spent the night along the trail who offers me any food they have left over as they did not want to carry it out. Enroute resupply accomplished. Yes we are fragile out here but also watched over and taken care of.

All the above tie together in agreement to confirm I am on the right path for my life and indeed to start really living. The support and encouragement I received including the many awesome care packages and other help and offers such as some paying for trail town stays is more then reassuring but has shown me something I never experenced before a community of people who care about me and my well being and my happiness and I am very grateful and it is great inventive and also the very energy that allows me to journey on. There are times that such kindness to me has brought me to tears.

So who is Starchild? As I journey on it is becoming easier to put that into words. To me Starchild is my eternal self. He is who I was made to be and always was. Starchild is also my choice. As Starchild I get and overcome what I never had as my 'mortal' self. That love and caring has come through many of you and some hikers and people who help us called trail angels. But to me as Starchild that is also through my angelic family along with favor in weather, time, distance and health all to help me be exactly where I need to be.

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I met an elder man along the AT, I do not know his name but in his story he said that he was taught never to hit a girl. A rule he has today. I asked why he has that rule he said because his parents told him that. I asked if he didn't he have any reasons of his own as to why he follows such a rule. He responded thoughtfully no. It hit me that our parents influence us so much even long into adulthood even in his case after they passed away in ways we are unaware of till someone can point them out to us.

It amazes me just how influential parents are over their children long into adulthood. How their viewpoints are imposed on their children and how it can take decades to overcome if one can at all. I am no exception and could be the poster child for it.

My dad was besides himself when I told him I was going to thru hike the AT. He even said outright that no one would care about me. Thankfully this trail and many of you has already proved him wrong . I have had more support encouragement love and care then I ever recieved in my life on this journey and I am hopeful for a life full of great things.


As Starchild I get the loving carig family that I need and always needed. I get encouragement to explore the world and meet people. Taken to the eternal scale eventally taking to the stars and exploring the universe.


Living as Starchild on the AT is quite different then how I used to live and how I was trained to live. As such it is still hard to do hard to trust but my many experiences on the AT is easing me into that. Socially it is still a challenge which may be some reminants of fear of other people that still has to be delt with. Part of that is that I have been a hard time remembering names. I suspect that this has hindered me in addressing people and thus has left me out of some social interaction.

The AT is not so much of a wilderness adventure but a path that is maintained to travel. A guide book that shows safe locations to get resupplied and come in out of the weather. It is also described as a classroom and the term Thru hiker class of 2013 is a common term and my class so for me as Starchild this is a school experience. Much like other schools there is a pace of learning. It does not help to push to far ahead but stay within the common pace. As I mentioned above the social aspect is still in the category of needs improvement. I do find myself hiking alone most of the time and was a bit concerned coming down off of a rock scramble called Dragons Tooth also I do have fear and anxiety over hitching to town though such thing is basically mandatory on the trail. I also feel I miss out on group deals which raise the expense of the trip or cause me to miss out. So I do need special help on that.

It is quite a bit to go into here but basically it comes down to trusting that my needs will be met out of caring and love for me and my job is to hike and learn, experence life people and this great world, and grow as I journey on- to be the child of this family.



Peace
Starchild
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