Monday, 21 September 2015

One Week

Only 6 days until the big event! As usual, I am wondering where the time has gone. This past week, I accomplished quite a bit, including finally being done with the DMV! However, I feel as busy as I've ever been. The stack of work is huge!

In meetings with Colin of the GWLT and Jess of the Barred Owl, however, the LEEP Project is taking shape. I'm continually reading through my journals, blog posts, LEEP Project proposal, and memories as it gets closer. There should be a lot of great material.

It looks like the first meeting will focus mostly on background. I want to talk about life on the trail and life since. Towards the end I'll be sure to get into some of the more theoretical parts of my thinking. I also want to talk about things y'all are interested in, so come with questions! Can't wait to see everybody.



Appalachian Trail Dialogue Session
Saturday, September 26, 2015
12:00 PM

Barred Owl Retreat
88 Marshall Street, Leicester MA 01543

Monday, 14 September 2015

It's Not Over!!!

What is up?! I'm so sorry that I have not posted since finishing the trail. It's been a month since I summitted, and what a crazy month it's been crazy since then. Basically, I summitted August 13th, came home August 14th, and had about 2 days to do nothing. That was wonderful. It didn't take long, however. Pretty soon I was locked into a battle with the Connecticut DMV (still ongoing) and trying to settle into a new semester at Clark (not quite settled yet). Most difficult of all, everything seems so crazy since I've been used to worrying about very little. The way I see it, I spent five months essentially having to only worry about staying dry and warm, eating food, and hiking. Now, all of those things (ok, maybe not hiking) are pretty much taken for granted. So all of the "frilly" stuff, like classes and the LEEP Project, don't seem as important. Or at least, I have no real sense of urgency. But I have a LEEP Project to do...oh yeah...


Okay, so believe it or not, I have still not put near enough thought into this. The good news, however, is that I have a date set. The project (which will be held in the form of a dialogue session) will be on September 26, 12:00 PM at the Barred Owl Retreat in Leicester, Mass (see below). I am wicked excited to have y'all over to just talk. What I want to accomplish with the dialogue session is to just give an overview of why I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail and to describe what I experienced. I want to tell you what I did this summer and hear your questions. The session is open to the public and there will be another one the next weekend.


Appalachian Trail Dialogue Session
Saturday, September 26, 2015
12:00 PM

Barred Owl Retreat
88 Marshall Street, Leicester MA 01543

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Reflections on the Finish

What a last 72 hours it has been. I suppose it started with the morning of the Mount Katahdin summit.

When I woke up, it did not feel like any sort of special moment. Five, Firestarter, and I all headed up together, remarking on the slowness of the day hikers (nothing against day hikers!) and playing infinite questions. But as we got higher, I started slowing down and falling behind them. I think it was seeing the higher reaches of the mountain ahead of me. This was my last summit, the last mountain in a mountain of challenges. 

At the Table Land, a flat alpine area with very little vegetation, it really started hitting me. I thought about Georgia, and everything in between, and all of the hard times. Then I thought of all the good times. And then I thought of everything that was beyond my thru-hike. I thought of my family and friends who were pulling for me with every step and of all the people I hardly knew or didn't know that were also following my journey on the blog. Realizing that I was not alone on the mountain was very powerful. It felt so good to know that I had come through and succeeded not only for myself, but everyone following along.

All of these thoughts flooded my head as I looked at the top of the mountain ahead of me. I could even see people standing next to the KATAHDIN sign. Strangely, however, when I got to the top, nothing happened as I thought it would. There was no crying, no kneeling before the sign, no flood of relief or accomplishment. Even the sign was smaller than I imagined it would be. Instead, I was just in a sort of daze, looking from the sign to the view to the friends around me. My friend Vulture offered to take some pictures of me at the sign and it felt strange standing behind and feeling done. I couldn't make myself feel done!

Slowly but surely, however, it has hit me exactly what has transpired. I'm coming around to the fact that I have no hiking to do tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. And Mount Katahdin is not a goal that lies in the future, its something that I did on August 13th. Even right now, writing this blog update from my computer, I'm realizing that I'm home. I have all the comforts of my house. And I'll be sitting in class in just a few days. It's very strange!

People at home have been asking me, "Is it like you're on another planet?" No, not really. It's more like I'm living somebody else's life! Who is this guy who uses toilets and sleeps in a bed and writes emails?! Me and the rest of the thru-hikers, we all said good bye to our trail names in a way when we said good bye to each other. No one knows me as Scribbles like Tate and Firestarter and Five knew me as Scribbles. I think that leaving this wonderful thru-hiking community will be the hardest part of the transition back.

With all that said, I'm glad to be back. I'm glad to be listening to WCUW, and playing vintage baseball, and watching the Yanks on TV. I'm glad to be in one spot, and playing guitar, and seeing my girlfriend and family and everyone who I've missed. I've already reunited with a ton of people who I haven't seen since March or earlier! Even though the transition's not going to be easy, I am happy that I've hiked 2,189 miles and there is no more to do.

I'm at my mom's in Connecticut right now, seeing friends and re-setting for the real world. More to come soon, as the transition continues! Pictures for sure.

- Scribbles (aka Ted)
8:44 p.m. 8/15/2015


0 miles left

I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to collect my thoughts until now, but yes, I am done. I summitted yesterday, the 13th at 10AM. And it felt awesome.

All I think I have the brain power for right now is a sort of string of events. Later today I promise to send the important stuff!

First was Abol bridge, 10 miles before Katahdin. We (Firestarter, 5, and I) got there on a rainy cold day, and were gratefully met by Fives parents. They ended up totally hooking us up, bringing us from Abol to another place where they set us up with dinner and a dry place to stay. They also later shuttled us in to Millinocket. Well, all the trail magic inspired us. We knew some of the hikers that would be at the base of Katahdin, so we decided to suprise them with a little food. In all, we carried 9 steaks, 9 ears of corn, and 3 pounds of hot dogs to our friends Vulture, Obsolete, Caboose, and Mystyr Lynyrd. It felt great to give back to the people who made the trail so special, and the steak tasted pretty good too!

Yesterday just went by too fast. I was on the trail at 7, and three hours later I was there. Katahdin. Done. It was crazy. Another post will go into much more detail about the final summit but I assure you it is a feeling unlike any other. After the pictures were taken and the PB&Js were eaten, we hiked the Knife Edge (full packs!) and descended Pamola. And now I need to adjust to NOT hiking every day. Alright, more will come later. For now, I'm going to enjoy being an official 2015 thru-hiker!

-Scribbles (aka Ted) 
10:13 a.m. 8/14/2015

Completed on Day 152

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Day 150 - Nesuntabunt Mountain

Nesuntabunt Mountain, 35

After a journey of more than 2100 miles, it's hard to believe that a measley 35 miles of hiking separates me and Katahdin. From this mountain where I'm camped, I can see the end! I have a gameplan, I know how many miles to do each day, what I'm doing after summiting, how I'm getting home, it's nuts! The journey is almost over. 
The biggest dilemma I'm dealing with is whether to be happy or sad about the hike ending. The truth is, I am both. On the one hand, here's this awesome accomplishment at my fingertips that I've worked so hard for. How could I not be psyched out of my mind?! Plus I'll get to return to my friends and family, and start yet another chapter of my life, in which I tackle a 5-class workload and the LEEP project in my senior year. It's going to be tough, but I'm very excited.

Yet something is making me feel a bit sad, too. It's the end. A few nights ago I sat at the edge of a deserted lake, alone, just watching and listening to the forest. When's the next time I'll be able to do that? In some ways, it feels like I'm about to witness the death of good old Scribbles as I return to being Ted. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course. I can't stay out here forever! 
So here I go again. The plan is to summit Katahdin with a bunch of trail friends on Thursday, then on Friday I return home and revert back to a completely new way of living!

-Scribbles (aka Ted)
8:36 a.m. 8/11/2015