By the time you read this Sarra will be around Damascus VA. That would be the 4th state and 469 miles on the trail. Last week was the one month mark. Lets just have that sink in for a moment . . . . . She has walked 469 miles, no wait . . . she has CLIMBED mountains for 469 miles in just a little over 30 days. Just for comparison, Indiana is around 250 miles from top to bottom!! I think I can speak for her when I say she is thrilled to be out of North Carolina, and I quote ‘NC is a bitch’ (the terrain, not the state!). She called Sunday morning at 7:30, which was odd because she never calls that early.
Sarra: hi what are you doing?
Me: ummm I’m in bed, I was sleeping.
Sarra: oh yeah, it’s Sunday. I forget what day it is sometimes.
She told me she was at Kincora Hiking Hostel ran by the trail famous and inspirational Bob Peoples. She was frustrated. It had been a few long hiking days. She was trying to decide mileage to hike that day. The choice was 2 miles or 18 miles. I guess the shelter in between at 11 miles is closed until December due to bear activity! That kind of wakes a mother up on an early Sunday morning. She said ‘I just don’t want to do 18 miles, I’m tired of hiking’. I said, ‘then hang out and just do 2, it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey.’ She sounded tired, she sounded frustrated, and she sounded like she needed a hug. Ok, probably not, but that’s how mom’s solve a lot of issues, hugs! ha. She told me she has a couple spider bites that are itching like crazy. Then we talked about trail magic, apparently you don’t get to partake in a lot of trail magic when you’re Vegan. They serve pancakes, hamburgers and a lot of spaghetti with meat sauce.
That’s another reason for the frustration. She explained that it doesn’t make her want to stop being Vegan, it’s just frustrating that no one else is Vegan. Sarra would love for everyone be healthy and to help them to understand that it’s really easy, good for you and actually delicious. So food and hiking – the two most important things while on the AT were both frustrating her at the same time. She didn’t have great phone reception so I told her to give me a call later in the day. After I hung up I sent her a text and asked her to think of 10 positive things she was grateful for during this past month. I also let her know that I had received a sweet letter from a total stranger in Virginia addressed to teamsarra that I wanted to read to her thinking it would boost her spirits. Then we both went on with our day.
So, back to the hostel and the bears. Bob Peoples owns Kincora hostel at mile 414. For donations you can get a bed, shower, laundry, kitchen and shuttles into town. He’s welcomed more than 19,000 guests. He’s also logged over 7,000 hours of trail maintenance since 1988. The thousands of volunteers and special people that keep this trail going is beyond amazing.
For more information check out: www.appalachiantrials.com/bob-peoples-kincora-hiking-hostel-hampton-tn/
In our AT guide at Watauga Lake shelter it says Bear Closure Notice, I had read that before Sarra mentioned it. Here’s an excerpt ‘This includes approximately 4 miles of the AT. Bears are active in this area. Individuals are only permitted to hike through this area. Please continue hiking through this area without stopping. No preparation or consumption of food or overnight stays allowed’ I asked Sarra if that kind of freaked her out – the ‘hike without stopping’ part. I read it as -run like hell for 4 miles to avoid being mauled- LoL. She explained that it’s not so much the AT thru-hikers as the daily visitors to the lake area that picnic then leave food and trash which attracts the bears. But don’t worry, neither she or any of her friends have yet to see a bear!
So, later in the day she calls me back. She said she’s hung out with other hikers all day, took a nap and was leaving to do her 2 mile hike to the next shelter. She felt better (naps and hugs will cure a lot of things!). I also read her the letter from VA. It was an uplifting, encouraging note with $10 included so Sarra could buy herself a ‘treat’ at her next resupply. It also had this cartoon on the letter:
Just so many positive happenings the past few months. Which brings me to the point of this blog. Sarra has said several times that every day is hard. Every day she hurts. The weather can be extreme or it could be a beautiful sunny day and you still have frustrating times. BUT, you meet the most wonderful, nicest people and the climbs are rough but the views are amazing. Then you roll into camp, muddy and tired, cook some dinner and fellowship with the other hikers and you can’t wait to get out the next day and do it again, frustrations and all. Welcome to the 550 miles of AT in Virgina, Mouse. Where every day IS a blessing, even when you’re cursing the mountains and the weather. Happy trails . . .