September 26th, 2018
Today would be my last day on the Appalachian Trail (AT). Well at least for now. I was excited that I would “officially” be done hiking every last bit of the AT. We both gathered all of our soggy clothes that resisted drying overnight in the moist air and got to stepping out of Cove Mountain Shelter.
As we made our way through the woods, waves of birds flew overhead and the rocks that had been annihilating my feet and ankles slowly disappeared, turning into a well groomed trail. Sadly, what would have been an easy stretch ended up taking much longer than anticipated. All the rain that we had been receiving turned the flat earth into a swamp pit. We struggled with our balance with every step as the scenery alternated between grassy fields and urbanized forest.
Before stopping at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Crew Headquarters to fill up on water and to scarf down some lunch, we’d walk along several slippery footbridges, pass through a tunnel and walk by an old mangled car in the woods. Who knows how it got there.
After taking the bridge over Conodoguinet Creek, we’d pass by a herd of curious cows and walk through several corn fields. While walking above I-81, Frisbee and I would stop to encourage the tractor trailers to honk their horns as they traveled through.
The mud got worse as we carried on. I nearly fell on my ass on more than one occasion. The last thing I wanted was to show up at Boiling Springs looking like a mud monster! We’d walk by an old cemetery and would have to carefully cross a slippery, damaged footbridge before walking through soybean fields all the way to First Street.
We had finally made it to town! I think I was too frustrated to get excited, but Frisbee gave me a high-five anyway as we road walked to the center of Boiling Springs. I was done! Finally!
When we got to the ATC Regional Office, I was surprised to see that they had the old trail register which included my entry from July 7th, 2016 before I realized my pelvis was fractured:
“Got here earlier today. Ate, drank brews, now headed to the hiker resort for the night. Leaving the trail to recover from my leg injury for 2 weeks, then jumping forward and making up the miles after Maine. Gonna miss the trail. 😦 – Stubbs”
It took me much longer than I ever expected to complete, but I can finally say I did!
Distance Hiked: 21.6 miles (34.8 km)
Total AT Mileage: 2,478 miles (3,988 km)
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