Springer Mountain

11/28/2013 04:55

After hiking 2185.9 miles from Maine to Georgia I finally made my destination! It took me 6 months before I reached, what seemed to be, an impossible finish. It felt like a dream when I finally got to the top of that mountain that I only imagined and longed for. It was a beautiful day. The weather was cold but nothing we were not expecting. We did a 24 mile hike to get to the hawk mountain shelter, which was 8 miles before. Sitting there that night, shuffle and Johnny reb with me, we kept saying how this was it. Our last night on the Appalachian trail. It was something that seemed unreal. I was expecting to wake up and still be in Maine or even on the plane flying to Maine. But it was real. We cooked dinner and made home for the night, like usual. But sleep was not in the agenda. We were to excited to rest. Only 8 miles from our end, our dream, our goal. I must have woken about every hour. Even though we were so close it still was unreal. Did we really do it? Were we really there? I had played one and over in my mind what the finish would be like for months. I cried tears just thinking about the moment I would finish. The complete happiness that would come with that one moment in time. But no about of dreaming would ever amount to the emotion that came when I was really there. I woke up on November 24th with a smile and packed my gear as quickly as possible. It felt like any other day on the trail, hard to move and easy to cold and miserable to want to hike, but we knew wehad to because this was the day. The sun was not quite up yet, but we were already making our way to the end. I don't think I have ever hiked so proud before. My hands were so cold and my toes were numb, but I had only one thing in mind. As I got closer, I played back memories of friends and people and stories, good times, laughs, tears, pains, injuries, and songs that were made on the trail. With a huge smile, I kept pushing on almost running. I finally made it to the parking lot that was 1 mile from the top. I stopped for a second to take it in. It was a bitter sweet moment. Did I want to push on fat to get there and be done, or did I want to go show and hold on to the trail for as long as I possibly could? The were people there getting ready to do a day hike. They asked if I was a thru hiker and with a smile I nodded. They were very happy to share that moment with me and see me getting close to fulfilling my biggest goal. I kept putting one for in front of the other. Ignoring the pains and injuries I had received from pushing big miles my lady few weeks. Knowing I was almost done, I just pushed through it. Along the way up, I wondered what it was like at the top. I wondered if my friends were there waiting. It felt like the longest mile I had ever done. Finally, I passed shuffle's dad as I was getting close. He told me I was almost there and everyone was waiting. I never knew what was ahead of me. I started to hear voices and with the biggest smile I kept telling myself to keep it together and not start crying yet. I started to e people and knew I was there. That's when I heard heard familiar voices of my friends that I had been hiking with for so long yelling my name. "here comes nectar" over and over. People started cheering and yelling and clapping as I took my final steps to the top. I could not hold back the tears of happiness any longer. I only saw shapes of people through the tears. I raised my hands above my head with a sense of accomplishment and made out the first person. Spits. The one who I had hiked with since the first 100 miles. I feel into his arms as if I no longer had strenght to hold myself up anymore. I kept saying "we did it, we are really here". After I could hold myself up, I took a step back and the he was. My dad filming me with tears in his eyes. I had no idea he would be there waiting. I yelled out to him and ran in his arms and cried some more. He congratulated me and held me tight. I finally got myself together and the pictures began. Nothing but smiles and happiness filed that cold morning air. I hugged everyone and we just laughed. Knowing we had finally done it. We reached this unreachable place and we were there together. Magnet, revolver, smithy, Spits, Turtle, revolver, Johnny reb, shuffle, Maverick all of us there together. Celebrations began. We popped champaign and the hugging continued on. I never imagined this. The actual feeling of what it would be like to finish. It really was a dream come true. It finally came to the moment that I was not ready for. I had to release Zack. I called papa to tell him that I was there. That I had made it to the place I promised him I would make it to. He said how proud he was and the tears began once again. After we got off the phone, I shared mine and Zack's story with the families of my friends that walked with us. Everyone was so proud and happy that they could share that moment with me. I pulled Zack out of the case I carried him in from Maine. I turned and walked toward the view and held him out. I said a prayer and a thank you for being with me, and helping me keep my head up, and pushing me to the end. I then released his ashes into the wind. It was very difficult, but halt at the same time knowing that this promise had been met. Zack could finally rest at the end of the Appalachian trail.I turned to my friends and we all cried together and held each other. After awhile people started to leave. But a few of us stayed up there holding onto every second. It was that time. The past we never want to come, our biggest fear. It was time to say good bye. Magnet began to cry, which she never does, and she said "why is this so hard"! All of us laughed and played a song and dang together for the last time. We signed the log book, took our last photos and turned to head out. It was a sad feeling. We were not only song goodbye to each other, but also to the trail. To our home. I felt like I was walking toward a door. One that I had to close, but with that I knew another one would open. As I stumbled a bit drunk down the trail, I help onto every last step of it. With my dad there with me, it was not as hard. It was done. My dream finally came true. I accomplished this goal that most thought I could not do. I didn't have to dream about anymore because I knew what it was like. I will live on holding onto every moment of the trail. Every lesson, friend, memory, scar, but most of all that feeling of 100 percent happiness. I will never let that go.