April 28, 2000

Pearisburg, Va 8 Miles Hiked Today 617 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

Wild Goats, Angel's Rest, Pearis Mountain...I don't see 'em eitherPearisburg is pretty cool. Everything is close together (within a mile). The big thing this town visit was to get my boots fixed. The soles are splitting and with swollen feet are too small. I'm having them resoled and stretched.

Here, after much thought, is my summary of the trip so far:

I've been in pain bad enough to make me yell; but
I've felt strong enough to forget I was carrying a pack.
I've been rained on, hailed on, sleeted on, and snowed on; but
I've seen sunshine light up a forest floor and a farmer's field.
I've eaten the same food for five straight days; but
I've also enjoyed some of the best meals of my life.
I've missed people back home; but
I've grown closer to some through absence.
I've met people I can't stand and wanted to be rid of; but
I've met some great people I hope to never forget.
I'm bruised, battered, beaten, blistered, and burned; but
I'm tan, thin, strong, bearded, and blonde.
I've walked head down staring at mud and dead leaves; but
I've stumbled across scenery beautiful enough to raise a tear at the magnificence of it.
I've had my clothes chewed on by mice; but
I've gotten even!
I've lost things I wanted to keep; but
I've been given things I needed with out asking.
I've been treated poorly by store proprietors, but
I've been welcomed in to stranger's homes and lives.
I've had to listen to the incessant snoring of shelter mates; but
I've had the opportunity to hear streams, birds, the wind, animals in the underbrush, and my own thoughts.
I've smelled myself and 16 others crammed  together at the end of a long, rainy, week; but
I've also smelled fresh air, budding flowers, and pine.
I've screamed out load at the sheer grief of hiking long miles; but
I've been thankful for the opportunity.

All in all, there have been a few tears, but not a day has gone by that I haven't smiled and been glad I was here. The first six weeks have been among the best ever. I hope the next 18 reveal themselves to be as special as these first.

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