Sunday, May 5, 2013

Return to Sanity

Dumptruck and I had walked 300 feet down the road out of Pearisburg toward the trail when suddenly I stopped walking.

"Are we doing the right thing?"

Dumptruck frowned and shrugged his shoulders. He agreed that he was also conflicted and that his body was hurting him quite a bit. We stood on the sidewalk in front of an abandoned gas station, while the sun bounced up from the pavement around us. I looked around me, remembering how it felt to hug Whistle goodbye. It's a difficult thing to go from seeing someone for 24 hours a day for 6 weeks straight to the thought that you won't see them again for quite a while. It's already felt like a month since we saw the rest of Shanty Town, it's been hard, and the thought of being alone for the next week felt wrong, somehow.

Dumptruck pulled out the map, and we looked at other options for getting to Roanoke, where we are getting the rental car for the wedding. We found that there is a road crossing 20 miles before Daleville, and we could aim for that for Thursday night, and then hike the rest of the way into Daleville when we come back on Monday the 13th. We'd still technically be on schedule, but just hiking on the 13th instead of hanging out in Daleville for the day. Both Dumptruck and I have been feeling exhausted and close to physically broken over the past week. As Bilbo says: like butter, scraped over too much bread.

We weighed the pros of taking a zero in Pearisburg versus the pros of leaving and continuing on our perpetual marathon to Daleville.

Pros for Daleville Marathon:
-Potentially easier to get to Roanoke instead of from the earlier road crossing
-Feeling like a boss for doing over 200 miles in 12 days
-Having fewer witnesses for all of our farts

Pros for Zero:
-Get to stay with Whistle and Grim
-Mexican food lunch
-Feet not rotting off of our bodies
-Backs not breaking from over-extertion
-Realizing that our farts elicit high-fives and respect in Shanty Town
-Not sitting alone, staring at each other, farting in sadness
-Enjoying our experience

Dumptruck and I talked about it for 10 minutes, and realized that the answer was so simple.

Why am I hiking the trail?

To be happy.

I dropped my pack and sprinted back to the motel. I ran up the steps to our room just as Whistle was coming out the door, her hands in her pockets, doing her best not to look sad (and failing). She looked up and started screaming just as I tackled her and gave her one of the best, tightest hugs in the world.

Nothing gives you quite the satisfaction of knowing you've made the right decision like getting the daylights squeezed out of you.

Clever Girl

We spent the day getting lost trying to find a Walmart, finding an abandoned house, eating an absurd amount of food and laughing. We are all leaving together this morning, and headed back into the mountains with our home all around us in the people we love.

Whistle, Dumptruck and I have gotten name-appropriate patches and put them on our packs. Girl Scouts was good for something in the long run after all! We didn't have one for Grim, so I drew a reaper for him with a sharpie. Art school comes in handy again!


  1. Scott approves of Dumptruck's beard!!!

  2. Glad you remembered why you are hiking the AT! And we LOVE the patches!
    Hugs- Margie and Maurice

  3. The patches look great! Your drawing on Grim's backpack is awesome. Well second chances on that canvas! Good idea to take a zero day...I suspect it'll help you go faster! 92 miles to Daleville...6 days to do it. You did more last week. So impressive to have 100 miles in 6 days. You all are hitting it out of the park. We love and miss you! Hugs and kisses, Mom and Dad

  4. Way to go guys. Great decision with the balance sheet. Your beard is looking very excellent Dump Truck. Glad to see you have broken the hairless curse of our forefathers. 6 days and 92 miles to Daleville. Piece of cake! Your drawing is beautiful, Clever Girl! Glad you are together, soon to be back with the rest of your family. We love you and miss you bunches. Mom and Dad