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Home – A Conglomeration of Celebrations

So in my very lazy post from the end of my time spent at home, I told you guys I wanted to share some thoughts about the weekend I had at home. So I’ll try not to get too sentimental, although I admit, I have a couple of times before (and will do so in the future – so deal with it as you see fit, preferable by eating tons of mayonaise).

People sometimes ask me if it’s “ok” to take time off the trail for the things I’ve taken off for – Celli’s bachelor party, my parent’s anniversary party, Nat and Dan’s wedding, Meg and Bill’s baby [even though I wasn’t there] and in the future, Celli’s wedding). Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s frowned upon or not, but I don’t really care. There are much more important things in life than being able to walk 2,100 miles without taking a break from it. So I’ll gladly compromise my pristine walking record for the priviledge of being included in these celebrations.

It is an absolute honor for me to be a part of these things.

I never considered myself a person good at making friends, but looking at it all now, I must say, somehow I’ve done pretty damn well. I count all of you among my best friends. Somehow I’ve made your acquaintance, and you’ve liked me enough to let me stick around 🙂

So to everyone who has let me be a part of their lives, and to everyone who takes the time to read this blog (I can’t believe how many of there you are – you surely must have better things to do!), I just want to thank you for letting a stooge be part of all of your lives. These events of the past week are only a microcosm of the people I’m talking about.

My parent’s party was amazing – Dad, you killed ‘500 miles’. It was awesome to see everyone there, but it was especially awesome to see both of you so happy. You created something great.

Brothers and Sister – thanks for doing everything for Mom and Dad’s while I’ve been away. You did great! Thanks for letting me steal a little of the credit! 🙂

MD

Dan and Nat – awesome party. I can’t thank you enough for having me, and I blame my antics on the lack of any social structure on the trail. Nat, you looked beautiful, and Dan – you looked somewhat decent, better than I would have thought I guess. Here’s a great article about the wedding, and some pics.

Meg and Bill – awesome baby. Can’t wait to see you guys when I get back. I’m going to come live with you for a few days, so just get ready. And I’m obviously inviting John as well.

Celli and Megan – I hope I ruin the dance floor at your wedding just as badly as I did at Nat and Dan’s.

Everyone – love you all with all my being. Can’t wait for many more years of simply living as part of your lives.

Trail Update #9 – An Unexpected Stop

So right now I am at my aunt and uncle’s house on the computer. A very unexpected stop, but a very welcome one. My Uncle Mark and cousin Taylor met me near Rockfish Gap yesterday and we went to a beautiful campground and did some bbq’ing. We had talked about meeting up somewhere along the trail, so it was a nice little break from the trail.

Unfortunately, the weather was again pretty terrible. So we were in the cold and rain for most of the day. Then Uncle Mark proposed returning to the Richmond area for the night. After some thought, I figured why not? I could get a good sleep, get out of the rain, and visit some family. So here I sit, getting some blog updating in (I updated plants and animals, Beard Chronicles, and added some pics to some earlier posts – check them out). And it appears the weather may actually be turning for the good. I’ll get back on the trail later this afternoon and pull a later hike into the night.

On the way to the house last night, we stopped at REI. A very necessary stop. Just in the past week or so, some of my gear has started to feel the wear and tear. My tent seams are leaking a little bit, so I got some sealant, and then there are my trekking poles. Sadly, I no longer have the same poles I began my journey with. About three days ago, I realized I lost one of the metal tips on a pole, resulting in much slipping and sliding. Not a huge deal, but something I would need to remedy. Then yesterday morning, I awoke only to find what I first thought was foliage on the handles of my trekking poles. However, after closer scrutiny, I realized the “foliage” was the remnants of the wrist straps. Some creature (likely mice) had devoured both wrist straps, nearly in entirety, throughout the night. Might not sound like a big deal, but a lot of your weight is transferred into the straps, so they are very necessary when hiking. So anyway, my trekking poles, in a matter of about 3 days, became a liability.

I went into REI and asked a guy if I could get some replacement straps and metal tips. To my surprise, he said no, and told me to instead just return them for a new pair. Honestly, I didn’t really want to do that – I feel like that’s taking advantage of their awesome policy. But he told me no, go ahead and do it – so I did it. It was kind of crazy, I gave them two delapadated, old trekking poles, and they gave me a pair of perfectly new ones. After being an “owner” of REI for about three or four years, that was the first item I ever returned. So good work REI – you guys did well. The only bad thing is I lost the sentimental value of my old trekking poles. But oh well, I still have over 1,000 miles to put some wear and tear into these new ones!

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Hoping for better weather in the week or so ahead! Next stop is Luray, Virginia!

Trail Update #15 – Pawling to Dalton to Home

Solitaire! Post your blog entry! Had to get another threat in. Now on to the real blog entry:

So let’s see. I’ve recounted (with the help of Joe Don) my adventures with Neil. Following that, I only had about five days until I would take my longest break from the trail. So honestly, those five days to the town of Dalton MA were not the most entertaining. I hauled some miles though, completing 125 miles in five days. The first three days were good – I was feeling good and moving good. But by the middle of the fourth day, I began to turn into a zombie. Twenty five mile days are good and well, but doing them continually begins to catch up to you. Luckily I ran into Indy around the middle of that fourth day, and we hiked the last 30+ miles into Dalton the next day.

After getting into Dalton, I took my first shower and slept in a bed for the first time in probably about two weeks – I think my longest stretch of the trail! I felt pretty beat down physically at that point, but I was excited to begin my five day break.

The first day of my break, I headed to my Grandma’s on Long Island. I crushed a bunch of awesome food (I think I ate half the food at her house), and got to see cousin Nicky and Uncle Mike as well. It was a great visit, and only the start of my binge eating spree. The next day, I spent the night in Hoboken, visiting the old crew and the old stomping grounds. I must say, my party abilities have suffered since being on the trail, but it was a fun night. Weirdest part of the night was going to the old Whiskey Bar, which is some new terrible bar. Whiskey Bar was way better – they let you dance around like weirdos in the back. Or if you felt like choreographing dance fights, they let you do that too. But no more. This new place was Stooge City Central.

Next stop was home. I think I ate 75% of the time I was home, and the other 25% I thought of eating. I kid. I hung out a lot, saw everybody, had tons of fun, and of course, went to the Celli wedding. The Celli wedding was a blast. I got to put my hair in a ponytail and look like Neil for the day. However, the highlight of the wedding was the Monster Mash. I think we got about eight people to ask the DJ to play the Monster Mash before he finally relented. He must have thought we were the biggest group of idiots to populate a wedding. When the Mash came on, the party went wild. We had zombies, vampires, and weirdos galore. Then following the wedding, we of course went to Jay’s and hung out – awesome end to the night.

So that was my five day break. I had to drive back to Dalton early Monday morning and hop back on the trail. It was bitter-sweet to leave home, but the trail is still a’calling, and there are many miles to go before I rest.