March 17, 2000

Muskrat Creek Shelter, NC 11 Miles Hiked Today 78 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

GA/NC Border!Didn't sleep well last night. City noise, even if small, seems loud. I also had a lot to think about. Its amazing how quickly this trail, this trip can change you mood. Last night It was great having talked to everyone, dried out, ate well and had been befriended by the town and then this morning, depressed. Sometimes having so much time to think is overwhelming. I started off wanting to lose weight, grow a beard, see America, live by the seat of my pants, and learn something about myself. This morning I felt all of that wasn't all. I put on myself that this trip was also about figuring out what I want to do for the next 25 years, what all my girlfriend means to me, etc. Couple that with knees that made me want to quit, and you had a wreck. I started thinking about quitting (but would I be a quitter, would this make me a "a quitter," was it another "curiosity" answered that didn't need to be completed) and what that would mean and what I would do then. How would my questions ever be answered? Finally, I decided to go back to my original goals and leave the rest to God. Together, here in God's natural creation, things would work themselves out. My job is to do the best I can. Its hard not to let you mind wander though. You just have to focus on your job and the beautiful surroundings.

The rest of the day got a lot better. I hiked most of the day with Colorado, Tennessee, Flier, Wild Child, Todd, Mercury, Skid, Drew, Koonackie. Everybody put me in a good mood because they are hilarious and most are suffering with ailments as well. They remind me to take it easy, Mount Katahdin isn't going anywhere, and have fun. Also, others are realizing that making the end is damn near unimaginable. Its good not to be alone. The hike itself was pretty straightforward. Up, up, up. The highlight was crossing the GA/NC border and having some beer. Two guys carried Fosters and Bud Light to celebrate. Tonight its like a party at the shelter. There are 4 in the shelter and probably 10 near it, like myself. Drew and Koonackie are sleeping up on the ridge. They will freeze since its supposed to be 20 degrees and will be windy as hell there. I'll be toasty in my -5 degree down and Dryloft bag in my bivy. Whoop!

Some other things I was reminded of today -- I thrive on camaraderie while still needing time to myself and I think too much. If my knees hold up this trip will be about a test of the mind, not the body.

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