500 Miles left!
It is officially down to crunch time. With only 500 miles left I am as excited as ever to be this close to finishing. Although I am excited, I have many other mixed feelings about being this close to the end. I am definately scared to get back into society and head back to the "real" world. To me, this is the real world. 5 months in the woods.... CRAZINESS! I think the thing that I am the saddest about is leaving this amazing familty that I have come together with. We have been through some of the toughest challenges together and we have gone through so much. So many have come and gone, but we have decided that we would stick together to the finish. I am so lucky to have met this many people and I am leaving with life long friends. My favorite part about being this close to the end is looking at the big AT maps and comparing what we have left to what we have done. It seems so close and so unreal. I remeber when we got to the 500 mile mark. That was such a huge milestone for us and we celebrated with wine. But looking back on it, we talked about how crazy it would be to only have 500 left, and it seems like just a blink of an eye we are here. I definately have a different mindsdet then I have at 500 miles. I am tired and everything on my body hurts, but I am stronger and very excited to head back to New Mexico. I could not wait to leave it, but now I miss it. with all that being said, I also found a possible job here in Virginia. We passed this little dot on the map called Bastian, VA. There is a little camp that is being formed there called Fort Bastian. Right now it is nothing but a teepee in the middle of the woods, but soon it is going to be a huge and wonderful wilderness camp. I was asked if I could use my skills to help set it up and run it. How can you let that down? I still have no ide what I am going to be doing when I finish, but I know I will end up at Fort bastian one way or another. Not only becasue it is my dr4eam to have a small cabin in the woods away from civilization, and I will have that there, but also becasue it is something that I have loved doing in the past and I am very VERY close to the trail. I think it will work out great! Although I love the idea of being out here, I must say I may have lost it a little. Don't believe me? I will tell you a example of why I think this is so.
My group and I hated the idea of Virginia being so so soooooo long that we came up with a plan to help make it easier. We decided to split it up into 4 relms. The first was Eutopia. This section runs from Front Royal to Waynsboro. Eutopia is the land of planty. It has the waysides all along the Shanendoahs and we were eating very well there. The second section ran to Pearisburg. We called this Altisimus becasue we started to head back into higher elevation. We hit our first 4000+ footer since New Hampshire. The third section ran only 70 miles and was named by me. We called this one Nickelbacklandia. How this came to be is really silly. We stayed at a random campsight one night and got a chance to listen to music on a small radio. Nickelback came on the radio and we got into a discussion how nobody likes them and they are concidered "buttrock". I had never heard this term and thought it was the funniest thing...BUTTROCK! So, the next day as we were hiking on, I went to use the bathroom and when I came back, the group was talking about this again. I then jokingly shouted out that we should name our next section Nickelback. They thought it was a great idea, so we added landia onto it to make it sound cooler. We also created a challenge for this short section, The challenge is to listen to Nickelback the whole way through. That made us want to get through a lot faster. The last section was named New Unicornia. This is becasue we were hitting the Graicen Highlands and there are ponies there. We called them unicorns and apparently there is this thing called sparkle blazing which is when you ride a pony for a part of the trail... we did this, but not with the ponies there. We found our own unicorn and carried it to this awesome land to release it. Smithy bought a unicorn blanket from a dollar store in the beginning of PA and we concidered this our sparkle blaze pony. If you dont think that is silly, when we present our kingdom to other people, they, then see that we have been in the woods to long becasue they tell us. We run around and throw everything off the spot that we are about to place our map of Virginia, which smithy carries with him. We then lay it out and stab a knife into it. Once we get down to New Unicornia, Smithy pulls out the unicorn and prances around. We have had other hikers tell us that we are crazy. Bet you can't wait for me to get home now? I certainly can't wait to share the rest of my sillieness with evryone. I hope I still inspire everyone to get out and do stuff. Even if its not as crazy as this, its still something. HYOH!!! (Hike your own hike!!)