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: