Waking long before my alarm rang '10,000 Reasons' by Matt Readman, I git restless. The morning chill hadn't set to yet. I tried to con myself back to sleep. I couldn't. It's summit day. A day I'd look forward to long before setting foot on Springer Mountain GA 165 days ago. I gave in. I got up. I packed with a chilly top in mind and lunch to eat in the go.
I left my crown 60 at the ranger station and used a borrowed day bag. Loads of day hikers were at the Hunt's trailhead making their way up. They'd never understand the emotions I hit: joy, elation, anger, pain, joy, elation. Some gave me congratulates as I passed. Many huffed and puffed up the trail. I danced.
Along the way, I finally finished my coffee before hitting the tree line. The wind kicked up a little at tree line. I tugged a jacket in. Above the tree line the terrain went from steep to even steeper.
Thr hardest trail on the AT? Gecko no! Don't believe the guide book that elevation chart lies. The hardest part is still, for me, getting to the AT in Georgia. The hardest trail I've ever hiked is Lone Peak in the Wasatch.
The trail began to require hands on the rock and in one part, a rebar hand hold. I feared it but, in reality, easy, no worries up or down. A mile of this class 3 climbing and that was over.
I hit the Table Lands and a mile less, Thoreau Spring. The spring, iced over. The emission kicked in again. The trail reminded me of the White's. Into the mist I hiked. Passing more day hikers.
At long last, the a frame sign. I busrst into tears. I cried my self to sleep after my sister passed away but, not at her funeral. I cried the joy of this accomplishment, over whelming, openly. I handed my camera off to a hiker and asked him to take pictures. This us my moment if AT glory. I was the only Thru-hiker there. The wind fought me as I got on top. The mist swirling around.
Moments later I tucked in behind rocks to wait for others and for the wieather to break. Bison and Kozi came 1/2 hour later. I'd run into the Pope and his group to. Jolley I saw 1/4 mile down from the top. We are AT Thru-hikers I yeld at him.
On my way down, inching against the wind, even down thru the toughest steepest sections. I fought the emotions.
At the trailhead, I made one last White Blaze pose. I leaned against the tree, knowing this is the last few feet I have on the AT.
I heard a familiar voice, GunPowder of the Van Clain. I ran and gave her a big hug. The Van Claim will go up tomorrow with the Von Tramp family. They showed up too.
My trail family, seeing my friends yesterday and today. I grabbed photos of many. Completors, finishers, thru-hikers. What a feeling.
I found a ride into Millinocket with some day hikers and off I went. I write but the writing doesn't do much. The high of this accomplishment lingers and yet hasn't set in.
To all who follow this journey and those I've met along the way, thank you. This is a journey not taken a lone. Though I hike a lone, I travel not a lone.