After plenty of contemplation and debate, I’m returning to the Appalachian Trail (AT). Who am I kidding? I was always going to return to the AT. How can I not? This time around, I’m simply finishing what I have yet to complete. That is approximately 170 miles in Pennsylvania, which isn’t much. Although it’s not entirely out of the question in my future years, I’m not quite ready yet to attempt another AT thru hike. Two attempts back to back resulting in three separate stress fracture injuries is all I can mentally and physically deal with. My pride is still damaged.
It’s been a real struggle. I hate the AT coequally as I love it. I love that I’ve met so many incredible people there who I now consider family, and how it has helped me grow as a person on so many levels. I hate that it has equally broken me down and damaged me, body and soul. I can’t seem to understand why I can’t let it go. Is it because I hate not finishing what I start? Am I just that stubborn? Is it my ego? Or is it because it’s a dwelling of so much joy and fond memories? Is it because it feels like home? Perhaps it’s all of those things.
Although it’s still uncertain whether or not the medication I’ve been taking the past year has helped thicken my bones, I’ve been doing my share to keep active and strengthen them. I’ve been walking or running a minimum of 3 miles daily after work, and often more when I have the full day available to my disposal. I’ve been feeling pretty strong, however my body has fooled and failed me before. Fingers crossed this isn’t going to be one of those circumstances!
Maybe some day I’ll be up for the challenge of trying to thru hike the AT again. Maybe the third time’s a charm? Until then, I think I’ll be content just completing what I’ve missed out on. Even if it is just one of the flattest, rockiest section of the entire trail!