Today Bottle Cap, Waffles, and I summitted Mt Katahdin. We are exhausted and happy. Now to figure out the rest of our lives.
I have now returned from California. Fortunately this hiatus, there weren’t any more unexpected delays. We are currently in Christiansburg and will be hiking again on Monday or Tuesday. This weekend is a big trail festival in Damascus, VA called Trail Days. There’s going to be free food, gear repair, musics, parade, and an all around good time. After trail days is over we will be returning to hiking.
Our original plan was to return to our hike where we left off at Roan Mountain. However, we have realized due to our multiple breaks, we have now taken almost a month off the trail. I need to be back in Virginia for a bachelorette party and wedding by the end of Septemeber. So we are now worried that we will be cutting it close to be back in time. So for now we will be skipping the section from Roan Mountain, TN to Damascus, VA. We were hesitant to do this because many hikers who skip sections often don’t come back. Fortunately, we live very close to that area (Bottle Cap has actually already hiked most of that section on a practice hike) and it won’t be difficult to return. Also, we plan to re-hike the Roan Highlands because we want to see the amazing views that we missed. Some purists were probably scoff at our skipping around but we are of the mindset of “it ain’t about the miles, it’s about the smiles”.
Unfortunately the year 2013 (especially months starting with M) have not been kind to my family. Last night my Abuela (my dad’s mom) passed away. It’s hit me and the rest of my family really hard. One minute she was fine and then in the hospital and a month later taken from us. I can’t express the sorrow of losing both my grandmothers in a little over a month. And because of recent events, I will be once again returning home to Orange County sometime next weekend. Fortunately, Kenny’s parents had already planned on visiting us this weekend and so we returned with them to Virginia. Until I have to fly home, we will be hiking Virginia sections and then going back to where we left off in Roan Mountain, TN. There will be some jumping around but hopefully make miles. I will keep updating as I learn more.
Many of you that have been following my blog know that I returned to California because of the passing of my Grandma (my mom’s mom). It’s been a pretty rough week but made a little better by the presence of family. The original plan was to return on Sunday to North Carolina and Bottle Cap and I would be back on the trail today (Monday). However, I have hit another road block.
When I arrived in Northern California, my mom informed me that my Abuela (my dad’s mom) has suffered a stroke due to a bleed in her brain. So I cancelled my flight to North Carolina and decided to fly home to Orange County, CA. I will be returning on Thursday and we will be hitting the trail on Friday. Even though this means we’ve been off the trail for 2 weeks, I’m very glad I’m home. It’s been very comforting to be around family and it helps to start heal the hurt. I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful family and great support group of friends. My best friend from Kindergarten, Jenny, has been amazing in the support of my family. She picked me up from the airport, spent several hours at the hospital with us, and then came home with me and stayed with me so I didn’t have to be alone. Yesterday would’ve been so much harder to get through without her. Thank you to everyone on the well wishes. They are much appreciated. I really hope this will be the last update I have to write on our hiatus. Hopefully by this time next week I’ll be writing an update from the trail!
One of the things I hoped to gain from my hike was patience and flexibility. I wanted to be able to say to myself: “sometimes things don’t go the way you plan, and that’s ok.” I did plan out a schedule for our hike but so far we’ve been fairly flexible when it doesn’t work out that way. The main reason I created the schedule was to get an idea for when we needed our mail drops sent. And we’ve made slight changes based on how our legs feel or where the hiker bubble is going, but so far overall we’ve haven’t strayed too far.
Well now we’ve hit a major change in our plans that will result a very temporary hiatus from our hike. On Friday while on top of Albert Mountain (celebrating 100 miles), I got a text from my dad, my grandma had passed away early that morning. It was a bit of a shock. She had been sick but the last update I got: she was getting better. Luckily I did get to talk to her on the phone while I was in Hiawassee. But this means I need to fly home to California for a little while to be with my family, because family comes first for me. This will result in Bottle Cap and I being off trail for about a week.
Our original plan was to try to hike from Franklin, NC to the NOC so we could still make some miles before I fly out on Thursday. But this required a lot of driving and logistical planning from Kenny’s sister. The driving was just going to be too much and the schedule was very tight. So our plan B was to slack pack only to Wayah Bald and get back on the trail when I get back. But the weather interfered with that plan and it was too snowy to get a car up to Wayah Bald Parking Lot. So it looks like we will have to be off trail for the whole week. We will be doing some small local hikes around Brevard, but not making any miles on the AT. Monday morning we will hopefully be back on the trail after Franklin and on our way to the NOC. Until then we will hang out in Brevard until I fly out and then Kenny will be staying here while I go home. Twinkletoes and Voodoo have been a great help throughout this process. They have been nice enough to host us and shuttle us around Brevard and will be taking me to the airport. I’ve really appreciated all the help they’ve been able to give. So hopefully the next time I update, it’ll be from the NOC and we’ll be on our way to the Smokies.