The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately 2,181 miles long. The path is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships,and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions do traverse towns and roads, and cross rivers. The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Along the way, the trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Damascus, VA - 5/21

It’s me, Spork!  Greetings from Damascus, VA. First I’d like to thank everybody for all of you support and interest. Thanks Dad for all of the work you have done keeping the blog up and running, it looks incredible, and for the help and support along the way. This is really the first time since leaving Georgia that I have had a chance to get to a computer and answer some emails.  It’s amazing how quickly typing and a computer gets away from you. I’m at the Damascus library and am pretty limited on time but I just wanted to let everyone know I’m doing well. 
It’s been 41 days since I left Springer Mountain. That may not sound like a long time but it’s amazing what changes take place in your frame of mind and perspective in that amount of time when everything you are familiar with is not longer in reach. I expected this to be tough but there’s really no way of knowing how tough until you are out here. I thought, oh, I’ve got this …. ha! I got my butt whooped and am getting it whooped daily.
As tough as it is, it is so rewarding hiking 2,000 feet up over 2 miles and seeing a view that words do not do justice. It’s moments like that that keeps me going. The days are starting to run together, time doesn’t really seem to matter anymore. Most of the time I don’t know where I am exactly. Maps and books are useless for the most part. I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the quality of trail maps.  The best way to get lost is to follow the maps. The trail is clearly marked with blazes but there are occasions that you wonder. 
My body is in some sort of constant discomfort at all times but you learn to ignore it. I have rolled my ankle twice, had many blisters, a constant tightness in my shoulders, sore knees, ankles, and back. It’s great!  My body is being put to the ultimate test and so far it has been resilient. I realize our bodies are meant to handle way more than what is normally expected. The most important thing so far is that I am having a blast. Sure there are bad days where I wake up and really don’t want to hike but once you get going everything is good.  Mornings can bring on your moments of doubt.  Wet days can get rough.  It’s not like you have a roof to get under in a driving thunderstorm.
 It is really hard to write this, It’s been a while since my fingers have touched a keyboard and my brain is in an entirely different place. I write daily in my journal but I mostly ramble on about my frame of mind or a bug I saw this morning. It only makes sense to me.  My favorite things out here are the little things, the flowers, strange bugs, mangled trees, and the ability to stop and just take it all in just because I feel like it. I try my best not to get too firm on destination and just enjoy getting there.
The people out here are great. The community of hikers was what I was looking for. People take care of each other and genuinely want to help. I am slowly regaining a bit of faith in humanity. There are a lot of good people out there. Well, I am running out of time at the library. I am taking 2 zero days in Damascus and I will send more tomorrow, possibly by regular mail.  I’ve got to get a few new pieces of equipment and will be sending some stuff home.  Damascus has some good outfitters and will probably be the last I’ll see for quite some time.   It has been 15 days since I have taken a true zero so i am really looking forward to the time off.  The last day into Damascus was a 27 mile hike.  That’s the longest day so far.  Part of that was anxiousness to get in and get my package and part was the trail.  There are still lots of ups and downs but the 6,000 foot mountain are behind me for a while.  Damascus has a feel of change.  For some reason it feels like a new beginning.  I am anxious to get into Virginia and the added mileage it will offer.  Although the higher peaks are behind me Virginia is still very hilly and will definitely be a lot hotter.   
Thanks again for being interested!
Spork (Ryan)

1 comment:

  1. thanks so much Spork I have enjoyed everything you have written so far, you make us feel as if we are almost there with you all! take care of my Lemon & Fish as i'm sure they will have your back also! & HAVE FUN!!