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We’ve Made it Halfway!

2011 June 20

We’ve made it halfway to Maine!

Halfway!

First, a few facts:

  • We’ve covered Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.
  • We have Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine remaining.
  • We spent 540 miles and almost a month in Virginia, then 45 miles and three days in West Virginia and Maryland.
  • We still haven’t seen a bear.
  • We still haven’t mastered the pitiful look such that people will just give us food. But Liz is getting better with her puppy dog eyes.
  • We’ve both lost about 10 pounds.
  • We think about food almost constantly.

We’ve learned a few things along the way, and we thought celebrating half the trip would be a good time share them:

  • If you don’t ask for something, don’t be surprised if you don’t get it.
  • If you stick around long enough, your own stories WILL come back around to you. Someone told me they heard about a guy who made a lady throw up because his feet smelled so bad!
  • Hitching is easier with a girl (or a cute dog).
  • Hitching into town for lunch is almost ALWAYS worth it.
  • Walking 20+ miles ALWAYS hurts.
  • Virginia is not flat but everyone tells you it is.
  • After wearing the same clothes for over 1,000 miles, you cannot get the stink out.
  • A complete fresh set of “town clothes” is worth carrying.

The beauty of the trail

As we reflect on our trip so far, we think “woah, we’ve hiked a long way!” Before this trip, the furthest we had hiked at once was 150 miles. We’ve had some really rough days where one of us is just grumpy, not feeling it or ready to be home. Walking everyday can get a little old–especially because we pretty much see trees and rocks. Then rocks and trees. Then a stream. Then more trees and rocks. Repeat ad nauseam. Suffice it to say, the challenge is mental now. However, the excitement of completing half of the trail has really reinvigorated us. We’ve been consistently putting in 20 miles a day since Harpers Ferry. Unfortunately, in order to finish on time we will need to keep our mileage up. We’ve taken too many unplanned days off due to injuries and home stuff.

We romanticized the complete trip as a beautiful hike – but in reality “the journey is the destination” as they say. This trail is not about the walking; it’s about the people and the experiences along the way.

Hanging out with Bam, Joe-B-Wan (formerly known as Stretch) and Hazard.

We recently met a guy named West (trail name) who was originally hiking towards Oregon. He spent the last 8 years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our paths intersected and he decided to change course and head for Maine so he could meet “real people” who will help him remember “why he fought for this country.”

We refer to this trail at the “Great Equalizer.” We’ve met homeless people, millionaires, recent grads, soccer moms, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, newly unemployed and retirees. We all sit around the same fire, talking about the same struggles, eating the same awful food night after night.

Our trail names seem to provide us a measure of anonymity and feeling of safety as we interact. At this point, there is nothing that makes anyone superior, we all hike the same miles and experience the same things, so it’s more about who you are not who you were.

 Overall we’ve found this hike to be much different than expected. It is a beautiful hike. Just not in the way we imagined.

Waxing philosophical,

Muggle and SurvivorMan

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Ruby permalink
    June 20, 2011

    You guys are awesome for doing this! Keep it up!!!! Love the updates too. Good luck on the other half.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    June 20, 2011

    Love this, congrats on the half-way mark, guys! Very cool.

  3. Linda Eggleston permalink
    June 20, 2011

    Half-way…WOW! We are lovinging your updates and living vicariously through you.

  4. Maranatha permalink
    June 24, 2011

    welcome to 1/2 way….very proud of that accomplishment!

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