AT 3/4 Way Feelings Dump  

When we crossed into CT on the trail it had not quite hit me that when we in New England. Then when we came into a town and I saw all the bougie white people and felt that I was a world away from the Midwest and definitely from the south where we spent so much time on the trail, then it really sunk in 🙂 

 

just a random pic of us

 
We are so far north! We are 600 some miles away from Katahdin, from the end. I absolutely cannot believe it. In some ways we are so ready and others we are not. Lately I have just had so many mixed emotions about the trail… Like, so many, everyday. I know it’s said a lot, but you really, truly cannot understand the TRAIL unless you have hiked it. It is so much more than a trail, it’s a community, a journey, and an experience like no other. I know this blog has not done justice to all those complexities, but I don’t know how to explain it.

This post is all my feelings about the trail, in no particular order, because I don’t know how to draw a succinct picture of all the things.  

Also, IMPORTANLY, every single trail experience is different. There is no one monolithic AT experience, and that cannot be stressed enough. So the crazy thing is, even though I just said you can’t understand the trail unless you’ve walked it, it STILL would be a vastly different experience from mine. So maybe we all understand aspects of trail life, in a general framework, but we each make that experience so deeply personal, they are beyond comparing. It truly is that different for everyone! In the end, it seems we can only understand our very own, personal AT jounrney, and do our best to value and uphold the journeys of others, rather than judge them, because each is so unique. All thoughts and feelings expressed here are simply about my hike, and my hike only 🙂 

 

i just cant explain!!

 
THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS by Moonbow 

  • The trail is not a racecourse. It is not a conquest; to me, the trail and hiking is not even about the sport. The trail is a journey, a conduit through which I experience nature in the macro and micro, a community in which I connect with other people in ways we don’t normally get the chance to, a way to experience the dynamic country I live in, and a physical, mental, and emotional challenge to aid me in knowing myself and my partner in a deeper and more genuine way. 
  • It’s not about the miles. I don’t want to talk miles, a rule I made early on. I don’t need to know how fast you are, and I don’t need you asking me how far I walked that day. Instead I would love to know the coolest or most meaningful part of your day. I would love for you to ask me what inspired, or challenged me that day. I would love to know how the trail has deepened your relationship to yourself, to nature, to your family, or God.  I wish there was more of this intentionality on the AT, and less shop talk of miles, gear weight and schedules. 
  • Hiker culture is amazing, beautiful, exciting, and exhausting. You get to form deep relationships quickly, and you experience an almost unavoidable vulnerability with complete strangers. It’s been an experience with humanity unlike others I have experienced and I have learned a lot. Sometimes, I need a break. Sometimes, I miss non-hikers. 
  • Being on a journey away from so many people I love has brought me closer to them in ways I never imagined. I rely on them for support and love that keeps me going when I think I can’t anymore. I have formed even stronger relationships  with some friends, and gotten to see some of the most important people in my life more than I expected and it’s incredible. I have reconnected with college friends and made last minute adventures to see adult life friends from far away cities. Every single person from any part of my life I have spoken with or spent time with while on this journey has been so loving, supportive and incredible. I feel beyond lucky. 
  • I have more appreciation for my amazing family than ever, and I didn’t even think loving them and appreciating them more was even possibly! They have been my rock. I spend so much time thjnking about them out here and I hope they know how much they mean to me in this endeavor and always 
  • I am so Midwestern! We have experienced the American south up close and personal, and now are experiencing the American northeast, and I am so obviously a Midwestern lady through and through. I am so happy with our decision to stay in the Midwest, and move to minneapolis together! Side note… South > north (read: down to earth > bougie) 
  • I don’t think I will thru hike again. The culture surrounding a thru hike does not fully allow for me to invest in nature and the experience in the way I wanted. Long distance backpacking for sure, but something that allows more of my own schedule, and has fewer people around everyday who have opinions on what is a “real thru hike”. 
  • Some of the people we have met on the trail will be lifelong friends, and have so profoundly affected me and I am so grateful for the amazing humans that have made this meaningful, fun, and at times, possible. 
  • I am so ready for real life, a house, a job helping others and working for causes I care about again, a garden, farmers markets, an LGBT community, and DIVERSITY in my neighborhood. 
  • My travel bucket list is so long, but I have definitely learned I want to do it from a home base.
  • I will really miss the trail when that bittersweet day comes in a little over a month. 
  • I AM SO PUMPED to experience and be humbled by the white mountains and NH and ME. 
  • Finally, Lisa is the only person I could ever EVER spend this much time, in such an intense way, with. We have been challenged as a couple, as friends, as hiking partners. However, I am more confident  than ever that our future holds amazing a things that I look forward to every single day.


Thanks for reading! 

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Real Life: I live in the Woods (First Edition)

Hello, Blog Readers! 

Once again we apologize for being slow in posting. We currently are at mile 1,405 in New York. This post is not going to be a traditional update (those are so tedious for us…), we will post another list update in a few weeks. This is a post about life in the woods. Disclaimer: there won’t be as many pics as usual for two reasons. First, we are too busy scaling rocks to take pictures, and second, uploading too many pictures over LTE crashes WordPress 😓 The good news is all said pics are on Facebook and Instagram (@teresajellybina and @hipsosh) 😍

LIFE IN THE WOODS, a kind of sarcastic adventure by Moonbow aka Teresa 

So, there I am sitting in my office, thinking about how beautiful and romantic it’s gonna be when I quit this life and go and live in the woods for 6 months.  It’s gonna be like goddamn Walden Pond or Into The Wild (minus the dying) out there.  ANYWAY, we have been at this for over 4 months, and let me tell you, it’s not all roses living in the woods. Don’t get me wrong; I love this freedom, I love this life. This sure as hell beats sitting in a office, or being in a car, or anything, really. It’s an incredible life. However let’s be real about some Truths About Living in the Woods. Here you go: 

 

SMELLS. When you live in the woods, what you will notice as the least sexy part is probably the smell. Let me offer a short description: imagine you have a pair of socks. What a lovely pair of socks. Then you wear said socks everyday all day for about a week. It’s very sweaty. Then you throw those socks into the bottom of a dirty laundry and then forget about them for who knows how long. Then you take those socks and bury them in the ground and ferment them, as if you made some sort of kimchi. Then you take those sweaty, fermented, stinky socks out. How you may imagine those babies smell is exactly how you, your clothes and especially your backpack smells when you live in the woods. YUM

EX: I literally made a women on the freaking NEW YORK CITY subway gag when me and my bag sat next to her 

 

maybe not quite how we LOOK, but how we smell…

 
ALL THE EPIPHANIES… That aren’t happening. So you think, “imma be living in the woods and having so many mental breakthroughs and writing it all down and solving all my problems and all the worlds problems and goddamn I am a genius”. In reality, it’s more like this inside my brain “step here, avoid rock here, climb here, avoid rock here, breathe, OMG can’t breath! this hurts, avoid rock, *taylor swift lyric* here, avoid rock here, watch for roots, watch for rocks, watch for roots, watch for slippery dirt, *katy perry lyric* watch for rock, avoid root here, I hope Lisa isn’t lost, avoid falling” at the end of the day, a minimum of 15 miles, you do actually have some new thoughts! They are “food food food food sleep sleep sleep”

 

katy or taylor on this climb?

 
BODY STUFF. poop happens, and you gotta poop in a hole. Sometimes, there is no way to dig a hole but you gotta go and so you shamefully hide it under a rock. Thru hikers– don’t even pretend you haven’t done this. Sometimes a State Park or another place along the trail has “porcelain” and then you truly do feel you worship the Porcelain God. Also, you will see all your friends doing number one all the time, and occasionally number two. Nice. For example, below is a disgusting scab that me and all my friends lovingly watched grow upon my leg then fall off. 

 

should have put it on a necklace

 
WOOD FOODS: not to be confused with WHOLE foods, this is a much more bougie diet.  Peanut butter, Tuna, Ramen, all day errday.  (Except the days your mamas send you AMAZING resupplies) 

  

BOUNDARIES… That you will lose so quickly and wonder how you ever had in first place. Life in the Woods is sort of life living in a traveling commune with your fellow Woods Dwellers. Boundaries become something foreign, of another world, even silly. Soon you will wonder why you even considered holding that fart in around your traveling companions. One day you find yourselves discussing that mornings poo that you all saw each other walk separate ways out of camp for, and the next comparing “weird poops”. You will discuss topics you always found taboo, you will reach a level of comfort you didnt know was possible with people you’ve only known a few months and you will certainly see a pair or two of trail boobs… Or be the trail boobs that are seen. 

 

poop jokes are everywhere

 
REAL LIFE SOCIAL SKILLS … You will forget them. I don’t know if I know how to interact with non-trail humans. What do we talk about??? I literally walked up to a random park ranger without introducing myself and said “how do I get this job”. Social skills begin to fail all of us out here. Life in the Woods is different. We can form a relationship talking about rocks for goodness sake…. What do normal humans talk about (geologists aside 😂) 

 

what to say to you, Normal Human?

 
MANNERS AND STANDARDS. These will be things that are only a distant memory. When you live in the woods burping, farting, talking about sex loudly are all completely acceptable around fellow Woods People. You forget this when in, say, a crowded restaurant or a swim beach full of tiny humans aka children. Standards will be a distant dream. Suddenly that shitty hotel you never would dream of staying in is a castle, and you won’t think twice about giving your pits a quick clean in a public restroom.  You will eat food a stranger leaves along the trail for you, you will eat hostess and an array of other filth you wouldn’t be caught dead eating IRL And one-stop, cheap shops like dollar general and Walmart are literally the only places you ever shop. Also, speaking of Walmart, you will spend way more time than necessary here all the time due to it having an overwhelming number of options for your Woods Person brain, and also free AC. You will also become a professional loiterer, at Walmart… And any place with free outlets.. 

 

straight up prpfessional loitering

 
Ah, the woods. Such a beautiful place. In the end, all the weird, smelly parts of your life are worth it cause you’re happy, free and waking up in/  walking in/ LIVING IN  in places like this: 

 

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

The Middle Grind 

Hello, blog readers! 

We apologize for such a delay in our posting! It has been quite a long time and we really have been meaning to blog but it’s hard to find the time. Currently we are hanging out in a Dunkin Donuts in Harrisburg, PA waiting for my FAMILY to get here for a visit tomorrow, so we finally have time! We are SO excited for some much needed family time. Since we have missed SO much we are going to update via a list and pictures. To be honest, after four months, hiking is hiking is hiking is hiking. We live in the woods, and occasionally have adventures there, or occasionally have adventures in a town. There isn’t much to say about the actual hiking right now– lots of trees! 

Things that have happened lately: A LIST by Moonbow and Lightning Bug, featuring Spaghettie (sic) and El Mundo (in no particular order) 

  • Passed the unofficial halfway point and visited the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

  

  • Saw a movie with the guys in Front Royal and it was so cute! (Pixar’s Inside Out

  

  • Passed the Mason Dixon Line and are officially in the North (the South was good to us, but we are excited for this new change)

  

  • FINISHED VIRGINA. This was huge. Over a quarter of the trail is located in VA. It took forever and we thought we would never leave. It felt like incredible progress when we left it! 

  

  • Passed thru West Virginia 

   

   

  • Finished Maryland (40+miles) 

   

    
 

  • Had a last-minute and wonderous visit with my BEST FRIEND EVER work out, and we got to spend the 4th of July eating amazing food from Whole Foods on Annapolis Rocks, seeing fireworks and being with some of the people we love most in the world 

   

    
    
 

  • Hitch-hiked over 20 miles to eat Chipotle and met an AMAZING former thru-hiker who took us in. She helped the 4 of us plus packs fit in a tiny car that had already had the results of a Costco trip in it. She took us to her home, let us shower, did our laundry FOR US, took us to do our resupply and took us to STARBUCKS. They were so incredibly generous it was unbelievable!!!! We had such a wonderful day with Mckenzie and her family. THANK YOU, to these Trail Angels❤️❤️

  

  • We passed the official halfway point for 2015 and it was not as exciting as we thought!
  • We entered (and are almost done with) Pennsylvania and it started out lovely but then became as rocky and horrendous as they say. We do not love it. 
  • Lightning Bug got LOST from the group for almost 45 minutes on a side trail no one else knew existed. She had known a tricky turn was on that part of the trail so we didn’t expect her to get lost, so naturally we thought she was kidnapped. In retrospect we laugh about it but in the moment it was terrifying and we all rallied to find her. We almost called 911 but luckily SHE FOUND US before we pressed dial!! 
  • Moonbow almost (SO CLOSE) stepped on a huge timber rattlesnake. It was TERRIFYING 
  • We did our biggest day (23.2 miles) 
  • We have been doing about 15-22 miles a day, because the terrain has flattened out a lot. It is pretty forest sometimes but overall pretty underwhelming. A Long Green Tunnel…
  • LB took a fall and has a pretty bad bruise but is okay
  • We got rained on a ton and are tired of soggy shoes 
  • LB’s boots broke and she got new shoes, entering the world of trail runners!! 
  • LB got a haircut from the most old school, all-American EIGHTY-NINE YEAR OLD barber in Port Clinton, PA. It was amazing. 

  

  • Our crew reunited with our other trail friends from beginning “the squad” and we had a fabulous reunion weekend in Harrisburg, PA at the home of our friend Buttercup. We swam and chilled hard for two days. 

   

   

  • During said reunion we drove as a crew 10 deep, over 1.5 hours to eat At an ALL YOU CAN EAT AMISH BUFFET. Best experience ever. So full it hurt. 

   

    
    
   

  • Hiked during big time tornado warnings and it was terrifying. Terrifying. 
  • Went to the biggest Cabelas in the world 
  • Took a Canadian to Dunkin Donuts for the first time 
  • Had to burn our beloved kitty cat coloring book in a magical multi-colored fire 
  • Spaghettie made us cheesecake In a bag at the end of a long rocky day as a surprise and it was SO GOOD 
  • got hooked on cereal big time. Big time. 
  • Passed 1,200 mile marker 
  • HAVE LESS THAN 1,000 miles left to MAINE! Officially back in triple digits. 😃

Overall, we are in the middle grind. The mid-Atlantic is underwhelming and we don’t love it. We cross roads and towns all the time and it is definitely not the wilderness experience as much anymore. It’s sort of a daily routine to just get miles done and living in the woods is loosing it’s shiny ness. We miss being dry when we wake up and we miss good coffee. We are certainly homesick. BUT we have come this far and we have an INCREDIBLE support system in our trail family, especially our best pals Spaghettie and El Mundo. They keep us positive and having adventures and we are so lucky to have them!!! 

We are looking forward to a much needed break with family and so excited for some activities other than hiking and seeing baby john!!!!!! We are also endlessly grateful for their love and support. Could not do it without them. 

Thanks for reading, and for waiting!!!!


The Most Fun + Lyme Disease

This week has been such an adventure! So much has happened since our last stop/post. This week we have really learned the importance of trail family more than ever, and had some of the most beautiful, fun times of the entire trip. 

A little over a week ago we were in Glasgow, VA, feeling really down. We were even thinking about ending our trip. It was a rough week. We had the Virginia Blues, felt really lonely and just pretty burned out. We made a really tough decision we thought we would never make on our trip:  we decided to hitchhike or “yellow blaze” past about 80 miles of the trail, to the next town, to meet up with our friends and try to get around this horrible feeling. Turns out this decision literally saved not only our morale but our hike, and we have no regrets. Moonbow was agonized about it, because of all the “purists” about the trail, but then we remembered that we have to hike our own hike, and we did, and it’s been incredible. We also got this AMAZING advice from a friend, that sums this up better than I can: 

   

 
With these helpful words and lots of good talks with each other we felt great about or decision. Two of our good friends from the trail, Muskrat and Iron Jen, who had to stop their hike due to injuries, were driving back down to GA in a rental to pick up their car. They stopped by Glasgow and rescued us!! They took us to Waynesboro where we reunited with SO MANY PEOPLE that make our hike incredible, and we felt so rejuvenated already. 

   
  

  
We had a fantastic dinner, where we found out that many people had felt this same funk, and we all got to talk it out. Then, we headed to colony house motel for some much needed rest. 

The next morning we hitched into town and Moonbow finally got her new shoes!!! So pink. 

     We had breakfast then headed to the free tenting hiker pavilion to find our favorites, SPAGHETTIE (sic) and EL MUNDO! We were so excited to hike with these guys again! We were all hanging out at the tent site, stretching, about to leave, when I noticed something red on my leg. I thought it was some leftover stinging nettle, which I get ALL THE TIME here. However, turns out it was the definitive Bull’s eye rash that means one has Lyme Disease, how fun. So instead of hiking, our crew (me, LB, Spaghettie  and el Mundo) hitch hiked to the Walmart clinic. Trail family sticks together, so it was a group adventure!

  
So we chilled At Walmart almost the whole day, waiting on doc and prescriptions. They tried to send me to ER but I refused since we all knew what it was and just needed antibiotics! When I was feeling nauseous and flu like the week before I thought I had just been exhausted and dehydrated  from heat… Turns out not so much that as Lyme disease. So we got meds and walked across the highway to a fancy Panera and had lunch. Finally at that point it was mid-afternoon so we just headed back to the tenting pavilion to take it easy while we made sure meds didn’t make me sick. Later that night we got AMAZING hamburgers at a local burger joint called Jake’s. Highly recommended. 

Finally, the next day, we hiked out! After chilling at the library for a few hours charging our phones and meeting adorble local kids: 

    

After getting out of town we started SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK!! This is the part I have been most excited about because it is my first real (and favorite!!) childhood memory, being there with my parents and sisters in the BIG MEADOW! 

Day one we hiked to the first shelter and got rained on big time that night. It was just so awesome being with the boys again we didn’t care! 

The next day we did 20 miles to Loft Mountain campground, where we took an unexpected zero for fun (and because I felt sick) 

   
  

The next day we did another 20, this time to a closed shelter site, which was so fun and felt like a secret campsite! That day we hiked with some new girls we met, Pocket Spider and Soggy Dirt. They are fantastic and over the course of a very hilly 20 mile girls-only day we found out we had so much cool stuff in common. Our little group joined with their crew for the week, and the eight of us had a great time in the park!!  

 We also crossed the 900 mile marker together!! 

   The next day we did 15 as a group into Big Meadow and had dinner at the restaurant there, and it was perfect. We were like a big crew of friends on some kind of vacation together and it was perfect. 

That night we camped with S and EM at the Big Meadow and it was MAGIC. We shared a hiker family sunset and it was perfect.        

The next day we left our stuff at Big Meadow and hitched north with a trail maintainer named Larry who was so old and had so many stories. We rode a curvy 20 miles in the back of his van and got a little car sick. He dropped us at the trail again and we “slack pcked” ourselves back. It was us, Spaghettie , el Mundo, and the other crew (Pocket Spider, Soggy Dirt, and Hollywood) we took our time and suddenly realized we were not gonna make it before dark. Us girls decided to have a side adventure instead, since we didn’t have headlamps and were not into night walking. We walked to the next lodge, SKYLAND and had basically a girls night out of dinner drinks and laughing, (and getting overly excited about the gift shop) and then getting a ride back to Big Meadow. We had met some awesome section hikers on their honeymoon earlier this week and, because the trail provides, saw them there and they drove us “home!” 

   
         

When we got there the boys were already there, having ran 8 miles, and were eating dinner. We all camped out again, this time as a big group, at the big meadow. It was really foggy and cloudy but the sky looked incredible and we saw at least twenty deer having dinner 🙂 we got some beer and wine and enjoyed a beautiful evening in the Meadow once again! 

The next morning, the same section hikers, “the honeymooners” Trish and Greg generously drove us all in the back of their truck back to where we had hitched the day before, and we walked north once  again. They live in New Hampshire and want to do trail magic for us up there! Such amazing humans. The trail is incredible in that way, and so many ways.
The next day was sadly our second to last day in the park. We did 16 miles to the last shelter and then the rain started. From 9 pm to 4pm the next day it was a MONSOON. It was the wettest and grossest we and our stuff had gotten the ENTIRE TRAIL. We broke camp in the rain, after waiting all morning and realizing it wasn’t stopping. We hauled ass hiking thru lakes on the trail before it finally stopped . Us, S and EM decided we needed to dry out, so when we got to the road we hitched into FRONT ROYAL to the budget inn. Everything we all owned was wet, so this was a great choice. We got pizza and whiskey and had some much needed relaxation and rest after a long week! This was most definitely one of the BEST, most fun, most beautiful weeks of the entire trip. Being with trail family and making it through the shennandoahs felt fantastic. Now we are 50 miles from HARPERS FERRY, WV which is basically the halfway point!!!! It’s really exciting. Looking forward to another week of beautiful scenes, milestones and trail family ❤️

HYOH- the flip flop 

Well, there is always something you don’t expect about once a week or more on the trail, it seems that is always the case. Last night we stopped into the town of Glasgow, VA for a resupply, and stayed at the free hiker pavilion. Super nice town, really kind people. We didn’t plan to be here still today, but then as we were getting ready to hitch out of town, we heard the ONLY road out of town back to the trail had BOTH lanes blocked from an accident. We also heard the driver died, and we feel so badly about this, and have the family in our thoughts and prayers. 

We have been checking traffic reports and still can’t leave town, without being stuck in traffic in a stranger’s car. We explored some other options skipping up the trail via the next town, but that involves an 18+ mile hitch and we just don’t want to do that, since we hate hitching as it is! The thing about hitching as a lady is this: people are more likely to pick you up, but you are always nervous it’s gonna be a creep. Guys on the trail are like “you’re so lucky to be a girl trying to hitch, so easy to get picked up” and we are just all MALE PRIVILEGE GET OUTTA MY FACE 😂

I could write a whole post on male privilege and the AT.  I could write an entire BOOK about machismo and male privilege on the AT, and maybe I will when I am done, but I feel like such things warrant being waited on, until the whole trail is completed and some post trail reflection in the real world has been done. Stay tuned. Anyway, this post is ACTUALLY about some exciting new developments in our Thru Hike 

  
From the begining we have discussed what is called a “flip flop” hike, where you hike half the trail north, and the other half southbound, in any order or way. Some people start from middle and flip back, others start from Springer in GA, others from Katahdin in ME. Read more about what a flip flop hike is here. Read about types of hikes, including flip flops!

We have been on the trail since March 22. We have taken two weeks off, probably about 8 “zero” mile days on top of that, and have immensely enjoyed the people, the scenery and the experience going northbound. However, we now know our pace, and what our bodies are capable of (or not, sometimes) with a heavy pack over incredibly challenging terrain. Looking at the miles left, we will be rushed to make it to Maine before the weather is cold, possibly even before Baxter State Park closes Oct 15. We have decided to do a classic flip flop hike, and here are some reasons why!

Timeline. Like we said, we can enjoy the miles and not feel rushed by a deadline hiking north. Plus, we aren’t saving the hardest miles for last. We have easier miles toward the end, when we will be the strongest, and we can crunch them to more easily get done on a timeline we prefer, and not one set by weather and state park closures. 

 

Weather. We can enjoy the beautiful northeast in summer, and not be super cold in late fall. We can enjoy the Adirondacks and Pennsylvania as we finish up our hike in the fall! 

 

People. We are behind the “bubble” of NOBO thru hikers and honestly here at the tail end there are some characters. Lots of people not really hiking so much as drifting, and it’s not the comfortable community and safe feeling we had when we started with the bubble. We have definitely met some cool people, but flipping to the north will allow us to start a new hike with the SOUTHBOUND thru-hiker bubble, of actual hikers! ALSO, bonus, we are guaranteed to see all our northbound friends going the other way! What fun!

Family involvement: My (Moonbow’s) parents are visiting in mid-July and will be taking us up to Katahdin, ME! This means my dad can actually summit Katahdin with us, something I have been wanting the whole time!! My parents love the trail and are the reason I am even out here, and it’s cool they got to see Springer Mountain and will also get to see Katahdin! It means a lot to have my parents involved in the hike in this way. Plus, we will finish in a place much closer to OH for easier pick-up off the trail. 

  

HIKING OUR OWN HIKE! Rather than worry about miles and timelines, this allows us to just enjoy our adventure, which is the whole reason we are even out here! The AT is not a race, and it’s supposed to be exactly the adventure YOU want, not what someone else says it’s supposed to be, or says is the “right” way to do it. We feel like this option will give us so much more flexibility and take the pressure off crunching miles so we can actually continue to enjoy the beautiful trail we get to hike everyday!! 

   
 We are really stoked about this change, and feel super good about it. We have spent a lot of time thinking about it, talked at length with both of our incredibly supportive families about it, and are glad we have come back to this idea of the flip flop, with more knowledge of our hiking style, needs, etc, and can make an informed decision that it’s our best option! Katahdin awaits, see you in July! 

  

Mile 700, and Big Challenges 

So it turns out that as you start doing bigger mile days, taking fewer zeros and being generally exhausted from heat and humidity, you start to neglect your blog :/ we apologize to our readers for being lazy about blogging! 

Is been quite an adventure since coming back from our vacation.  We are behind the bubble the started with, and at first that was tough, but we have met a lot of cool new people and realizing that there are so many amazing people on the trail, and that trail family is basically infinite!! 

We have been dealing a bit with some knee issues, and that has definitely been frustrating. My (moonbow) knee has been acting up and at first it was pretty scary, wondering if it was gonna force us off the trail… Thankfully it has gotten better and we have been able to slay miles again!! The week we got back and the knee was hurting we were back to miles as low as the week we started! It was pretty frustrating when the rest of our bodies wanted to go back to fast miles in the teens! FINALLY And thankfully after a few weeks we ARE BACK!  This week we did over 100 miles in six days and two 20-mile days!! We were EXHAUSTED by the end and we needed a zero bad. Finally we were able to relax, when we got to Daleville, Virginia and stayed at the Howard Johnson Inn with a SWIMMING POOL! So many of our new trail friends were there and it was a super fun time. We shared a room with our friends Timber and Rocket, and that was a lot of fun getting to know them more. We are loving getting to know lots of our new friends and also excited as we catch up with old friends and are still super stoked to find lots of our favorites as we catch them or they catch up with us!!! 

Is been very interesting as the trail progresses seeing how the culture changes. Before Trail Days, in the first 500 miles it was like everyone together, not too worried about miles and just party party party. After Trail Days lots of bubbles got split up, people started doing bigger miles, having off-trail obligations, or, getting off the trail for good 😦 the vibe now is definitely now more about hiking than partying, and about figuring out what “hike your own hike” really means for each and every one of us. 

For us, hiking our own hike means having fun, and also knowing our own limits for miles and not hurting our bodies. It also means not getting bogged down in other people’s ideas of a thru-hike and mile expectations and timelines. It means just feeling good about how hard we work to complete the miles we are able to do, investing in getting to know people, and taking our time when we love a beautiful spot, even if that means only doing 8 miles a day.

We are excited about the upcoming halfway point in Harpers Ferry only like 300 miles (3 weeks!!) away. It’s hard to believe we will soon celebrate that milestone. 

These past few weeks brought some big challenges in terms of hiker family.  We found out that Sloth is off the trail and may come back only for sections later, and are really sad.  IronJen and Muskrat made the tough decision to get off due to injuries, and we are also so sad to see them leave. Lightbulb, our trail dad was also driven off by a torn rotator cuff and other family obligations and we were heartbroken to hear all of this. It made for a really though time, knowing that people we have come to know so well and rely on for support and love out here aren’t here anymore :/ it’s definitely rough, but it encourages us to always be developing our community and other relationships on the trail.

This week we head to Waynesboro, and then we get to Shenandoah!!! I have been looking forward to this the whole time! We will update more regularly now that we feel back in the swing of things. Happy trails!!

 

love our tent home !

  

made pad thai in the camp stove!!

  

the amazing WOODS Hole hostel

    

cutest cats at. woods hole

    

homemade, organic. goodness

  

two of our faves, rocket and timber

  

muskrat and iron jenn, we love u!!!!

  

on angels rest.

    

holy family hostel

    

found a stranded. turtle and brought him to water !!!

  

not a bad view every morning

  

hot and tired. LB!

  

our sweet friends steelfoot and peaches

      

four pines hostel, run bh old hippie jo. we loved it!!

      

LB on the famour mcafee knob

        

What We Missed 

It has been a while since our last blog post! So much has happened in the past few weeks, and we totally lost track of time!! Let’s do a quick recap of non-trail (but super amazing) things that happened: 

MB = moonbow aka Teresa 

LB=lighting bug aka Lisa 

  • My best friend in the world wins for best friend ever and always, because she drove down 7 hours one way from Baltimore to Damascus and retrieved us from the trail. She is amazing. Laura Flamm. You rockstar. We had a super fun time introducing her to our hiker trash family, and then driving back to Baltimore through VA.  A little preview of the trail to come. We drove right past Harpers Ferry. Crazy! 
  • We had a blast in Baltimore, trying on (and wearing) outfits other than our hiking clothes, eating delicious food, vintage shopping, and getting to meet all of Laura and her fiancé Brian’s super cool friends. So much fun! 
  • We took a plane to Minneapolis and Southwest caused us to miss our connection so we got food vouchers and ate a delicious steak dinner in the airport.
  • We had a crazy, fun, friend-filled week in Minneapolis! Moonbow did lots of professional networking, and lots of hanging out with my other bestie, Christina. Took C to get her first pedicure ever, and introduced her to “levels of femininity” she has never known. 
  • MB and C got amazing coffee, walked around town then ate at a fantastic restaurant called Africa Paradise and made friends with the Somali owner, bonding over refugee stuff, of course 
  • MB Got a whole new wardrobe from Savers, the best thrift store you can ever find, I promise 
  • Scouted MPLS neighborhoods, took the bus, walked, biked, and got SO STOKED to live in such a vibrant city with so many opportunities 
  • Biked to the Surly Brewery with our pal Ryan 
  • We did karaoke at Vegas Lounge for the pre-wedding celebration with all friends
  • LB helped her pals prep for the wedding
  • LB dressed like a prep star for a party themed “Night in the Hamptonz” and it was amazing. MB added the z for hilarious emphasis 
  • LB got a haircut and looked so fly in her suit for the wedding 
  • We ate amazing food and had tasty artisan cocktails at the rehearsal dinner 
  • We had the most amazing time that can ever be had at the wedding of two of our dearest friends, Melanie and Melissa. It was so gorgeous, so full of love, and just SO FUN. We shut down the reception with all our pals and then did a lesbian takeover of the fancy gay boy bar next door and danced all night long 
  • LB’s parents and grandpa came to visit in MPLS! We had a lunch and a brunch, not nearly enough time together, but it was so lovely 
  • We spent way too much money at REI, and got new (warmer!!) sleeping bags for this fall in New England! Yay! 
  • We hopped a plane back to Baltimore 
  • We had a super fun Memorial Day weekend biking, swimming and eating with Laura and Brian. 
  • Took an overnight Greyhound from Baltimore to Marion, VA to start our hike once again!! 

And now, Some pictures from the off-trail adventures, which very much felt like a vacation. The trail does not feel like a vacation. It feels very much like what we are doing with our lives currently. Maybe we don’t get paid for it, but it is our work, and it is not always a picnic lol. We returned to trail life full of apprehension about how it would be after such a long break, and no longer being with our on-the-ground support system, our trail family (see next post)