Miles total: 1166.9
Currently sitting at the Harper's Ferry Hostel computer...
What a difference one day makes. I woke up rested and was still on the fence about staying on the trail. I hopped on the Appalachian Trail online forum, whiteblaze.net, and started researching the phenomenon called "Virginia Blues". Northbound thru-hikers tend to lose their momentum at some point in Virginia as the trail flattens out and the novelty wears off. The condition sounded a lot like what I was experiencing. Without even changing how I felt about the trail, I felt better knowing that there were others who felt the same way. I didn't feel alone, and that in itself began to motivate me to stick with it. To help myself further, I made my own post on the site, asking for advice at this crossroads. People quickly began commenting, encouraging me to push on and see what the trail holds, but acknowledging that it was my choice. Then something really surprised me: a hiker whom I had met commented. Leprechaun (not to be confused with Pink Leprechaun), whom I had seen on Smarts Mountain in Vermont while picking blueberries, popped up with well wishes. He told me about the great spots in Virginia to look forward to. Others reminded me that I am about to get back to the mountains and that Shenandoah is great. Others empathized and told me that I had completed the most boring part of the trail in going from Connecticut to Maryland. One quote I liked was "you can't hit the peaks if you don't traverse a few valleys along the way". I liked that one. I would be reluctant to continue if the trail was going to be like this forever. With changes coming up ahead, I would feel unjustified stopping now. I am rejuvenated, and I think I can attribute some of my feelings to the "hangover" that comes from leaving a loved one. I took the time and rested my body to get it healthy again; yesterday reminded me that I have to keep my brain healthy as well. My head is screwed on straight now, I think. It's time to set off on the next leg of this adventure. I've been walking to The South this whole time. It's time to enjoy it!
So here is how my day went otherwise. I ate pancakes for breakfast with Bernie and the Swedes, then realized I had overdone it and retired to the couch. I did the aforementioned perusing of whiteblaze.net, hung out talking to Bernie, and watched the movie "Uncle Buck". For those unfamiliar, that is the pinnacle of late-80s comedy. I have seen it many times, but I still was laughing my tuchus off. John Candy was a comic genius. Anyhoo, I spent the rest of the time listening to music and laying on the couch, making the most of hopefully my last zero for a while. I've made approximately NO progress since Duncannon! I'm ready to put in some consistent work, I think. Idle hands are the devil's plaything! Or something like that. I'm off to watch a movie with the crew on this giant projection screen. I think we're having some quesadillas tonight. This is a great hostel. Sorry to kind of jerk your chain last night; I was just expressing what I was feeling. I often say that emotions change quickly out here. Sometimes I feel like a startled cuttlefish, rapidly changing colors. It's hard to describe that animal, so here's a video.
The cuttlefish is feeling good, though! In the morning, you'll find me back on the trail and clucking off miles. Get it? I think I'll close this entry by having you listen to the song that inspired my blog's name. The word's don't really matter (they're a little bit of a downer) but I like that it's upbeat. Here ya go!
Pictures: VIP screening of Uncle Buck; the bunkroom; outside the hostel.