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  1. #1
    Registered User jplogan19's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-09-2013
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Age
    49
    Posts
    4

    Default I guess I am a Section Hiker after all... and proud of it

    So I just boarded a Greyhound bus in Marion, VA, heading home after hiking the first 530+ miles of the AT. I met a lot of great people out there. Those who didn't get to know me by name may know me by the bulky Gregory Whitney 90 pack that I happily lugged around with a 60 lb payload. Sure, the weight slowed me down on climbs, but I had one healthy and fulfilling hike. Honestly, I feel better than I ever have. I started at the Falls on 3/10. I hiked through one hell of a blizzard in the Smokies. And I stress IN THE SMOKIES, because we were up there rather than being stuck in Fontana or Gatlinburg. Molly Ridge survivors! The entire 47 days were an awesome experience. I wouldn't change one second of it, challenges and all, and I wish all hikers out there the best.

    As for why I left the trail... It was a little like Forrest Gump when he was running back and forth across the country and then suddenly came to a hault and said, "I think I'll stop now." It was almost that sudden. It's a little more complicated because I have some family matters that started to weigh heavily on my mind, making the remaining three months on the trail start to seem like an eternity. But the idea to actually call it quits did hit suddenly. Yesterday I hiked past the Mt. Rogers Visitor center and camped at the next shelter, the one after Partnership. During the chilly, restless night it just hit me that I was done. I looked in the AWOL guide, saw that Marion had a Greyhound station, and this morning hiked back southbound six miles to catch the shuttle into town. Funny, during my six mile walk-of-shame, I ran into Chin Music, Hawkeye, and Pumpkinhead, among others. Anyway, I feel great, like I could hike another 1,700 miles IF I wanted to. But just like Forrest, I think I'll stop now, with mind and body transformed and carrying memories that will last a lifetime.

    Hike on, Class of 2013! It was truly a pleasure.

    -- JP from Philly


    P.S. Not an incredibly insightful account of my hike, but if you want to see how I tracked in near real time, check out http://onthetrail2013.tumblr.com
    I am especially proud of the pics from the Smokies. It was like hiking in a snow globe.

  2. #2

    Default

    Great pictures on your tumblr page! It looks like you really did get some snow. Thanks for sharing these - they give us vicarious AT hikers a taste of what it has been like out there.
    (trailname: Paul-from-Scotland)

  3. #3

    Default

    Nice...nice

  4. #4

    Default

    Congrats on your hike.

  5. #5
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-03-2002
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Age
    65
    Posts
    5,446
    Images
    558

    Default

    As a (very) long-term section hiker, I'm convinced that the hard part is just getting back to the Trail! About 20 years ago I made it one of my life goals to finish the entire distance. In some ways it would be a lot easier to do it in 4-week chunks (instead of 1+ week chunks), but I'll get there even if my stupid knees complain the whole way!
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  6. #6
    Registered User Capt Nat's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-01-2012
    Location
    Winter Haven, FL
    Age
    66
    Posts
    412

    Default

    It sounds like you are in a good place Mr. JP. It's not like we are going to stop your paycheck, break your sword, and rip the rank and insignia off your shirt. Better to have a great hike and carry the awesome memories for ever than spoil the experience by hiking through a miserable couple of months. Hope things go well at home...

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    It sounds like you are in a good place Mr. JP. It's not like we are going to stop your paycheck, break your sword, and rip the rank and insignia off your shirt. Better to have a great hike and carry the awesome memories for ever than spoil the experience by hiking through a miserable couple of months. Hope things go well at home...
    I would like to say thanks to you all that removed yourselves from the trail early without showing shame. It gives me the strength to try without the fear of haunting thoughts if I choose to be a section hiker. Thanks for keeping it real.

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