The world is at war from an enemy that we can not see, an enemy that has no regard for human life, and an enemy that doesn’t care what your story is, what your dreams are, where you come from, what you believe in, or who you are. HYOH, “hike your own hike” is the gospel of the trail. So as of today, I’ve decided to do my part in this war and cancel my NOBO thru-hike, which was only 4 days away. Over the past days, I’ve lost countless hours of sleep pondering the events of the current situation and the impact this has for the trail, the trail community, and everyone in general. For me personally, I know that I have to do what “I” believe is right for me and to do “my” part to win this war.
This journey for me has always been about this; to unlearn what this world has taught me, and to Be_again, once more, anew, afresh. I know that I cannot accomplish this by staying out of town, not sleeping in hostels, not stacking in hotel rooms or avoiding shelters altogether just so we can stay away from each other. I don’t want to live without high fives, silly handshakes, hugs, trail magic, hitches, etc…and the comradery of a tramily. This journey was never about keeping my head down and just cranking out miles with the only goal being summiting Mt. Katahdin. My journey is to reconnect with life through the people.
I do not want to not give up on this dream and to stop believing. I’ve trained too hard, spent too many hours, days, years planning for this adventure to just give up completely. So, while the story would be different this year, I feel that there is still a story to be told, even if it’s not the way I started to write it in my head. Nor will the ending be what I’ve been visioning every single day of my life for the last two years. This war will end, and the light of the sun will soon shine again on the whole world. God willing and with the power of the Universe please stop, we’ve had enough already!
My plan, for now, is to postpone until mid-May to monitor the situation at home and abroad. If we start winning this war, and if trail life returns to some sense of normalcy, I plan to do what is called a Flip/Flop thru-hike. For those who don’t know what this means, here is the short version. I would start my hike at the midpoint at the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservancy) Headquarters in Harpers Ferry, WV and travel north to complete leg one by summiting Mt. Katahdin (Northern Terminus), in Maine, around the end of August. I would then shuttle back down to Harpers Ferry, WV and travel south to complete leg two and finish my thru-hike by summiting Springer Mountain (Southern Terminus), in Georgia, around the end of November. The only real goal in this situation would be for me to be home for Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday!
Everything is changing so fast. Please stay safe, be kind to one another, please practice social distancing, wash your hands, etc and pray for “Life Magic”. Yes, I’m crying…Purpose Be_?
Thanks for sharing Mark!
Thank you for reading…Please stay safe!