Day 41: Wild iris

Stealth camping at Deep Gap with a billion other people [mile 286.7]

It’s so mysterious! Some days are just good, and some are just bad, and no amount of chemistry seems to make a difference. Maybe it’s the weather. Whatever it is, today was phenomenal, for no reason I can determine. I managed 12.8 miles including three big uphills with no trouble at all. I don’t even have hamburger feet!

I went to the diner at 6 AM for a last breakfast—just a couple of eggs to stoke the burner. When I was paying, I told the cashier I was so sorry to be leaving Hot Springs. She just smiled and said, “That’s part of the journey, isn’t it.” She didn’t say it like a question. She’s right, of course; one of the lessons out here is impermanence. You lose people all the time. The trick is to enjoy every person and every place fully while you have them, and let them go freely when the inevitable time comes.

The walk out of Hot Springs was lovely. Pine needle paths, well maintained. I did get off the trail once. I found myself scaling an enormous rockface hand over hand. I needed feet, hands, knees… and when I got to the top, I realized it wasn’t the trail. It was a giant rock called Lover’s Leap. I couldn’t get down! Eventually I slid down a drainage ditch like a sliding board. it was fill of thorn bushes and pine needles, and my tush got scratched up, but I lived! (Unlike the lovers, presumably.)

So that was a big uphill, but I managed it without trouble. Maybe it’s because I took my watch off finally and just decided to stop worrying about how long it was taking. Or maybe it was the green tunnel… not really the green tunnel, not yet. But the elevation was low enough that I was under the treeline, and the rhododendron bushes touched overhead. Summer’s going to be like that!

The afternoon got hot and sunny, and after a steady climb the trail ended up back upstairs with the bare trees and dead leaves. But wildflowers! So many tiny ones! Brilliant red and white and yellow. And something I’ve never seen: wild iris.

I also passed two more tombstones. For what it’s worth, at the moment I’m thinking that if I croak on the trail, I’d rather be buried in a hotel room with cable and a hot shower.

I took a break by a gorgeous pond, and a couple of other 15-minute breaks. Then tonight I called it a day at Deep Gap. I was alone until a raiding party of young hikers showed up. There are about ten or twelve of them, plus a doggie. Feels like Gooch Gap! 🙂 Which is absolutely fine.

Saw Dreamer and the Postman today, but everybody else has been a new face. A lot of new faces.

That’s part of the journey. Just hiking my own hike, me and the trail.

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Day 41: Wild iris

  1. Congrats on a good day! So glad the weather has turned and you are enjoying yourself.

  2. Mark

    Met you at Cosby knob shelter about a week ago, my wife and I were out on a four day trip. Enjoying you posts.

    Mark & Tracy Spain

  3. Marge

    Beautiful, soft cushiony needles! Yay! Boston Marathon Finish Line today had a terroristic attack. 2 bombs detonated. So far, 3 killed, including an 8 yr old boy and, at least, 115 injured. Multiple amputees. No one taken responsibility yet. No one in custody. While you are 1 with the Universe, would you take a minute in your travels to pray for all involved. BTW….I used to date wild iris!! And a smart idea, in my humble opinion to take your watch off. Can’t be as close to the Universe, as you would like, wearing a watch. Stay focused in a relaxed way!! Love you. xoxo

  4. Love this…“That’s part of the journey, isn’t it.” “one of the lessons out here is impermanence. You lose people all the time. The trick is to enjoy every person and every place fully while you have them, and let them go freely when the inevitable time comes.”

  5. Thank you for that life lesson. I am so glad that you are doing well and able to enjoy this incredible journey. We miss you and continue to follow all these posts…..peace, Eileen

    • Thanks, Eileen!

      • I really believe that you and Marge have the right life lesson concerning impermanence and how important the comcept is. Just really hard to practice on an everyday basis. With all the events of tis week, just live life to the fullest and enjoy every bugbite, rash, waterfall and beautiful flower on your journey and just keep us posted so we can journey together.

      • Love that! Thank you!

  6. Awesome entry! Your writing is exceptional. What do you do for a living? I’m a soon to be retired professional communicator and write for a living, which is why I ask. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how I want to tell the story of my hike next year. I can only hope to write as eloquently as you.

    I must say, that of all the observations I’ve read in all the various journals, blogs, books and videos, you have taken the cake with this from yesterday: “I also passed two more tombstones. For what it’s worth, at the moment I’m thinking that if I croak on the trail, I’d rather be buried in a hotel room with cable and a hot shower.”

    I was watching the Red Sox game with iPad in hand when your blog hit my email. My wife and I nearly busted our guts laughing when I read it out loud. The irony is so rich.

    Cheers,

    Jim 301-300-5717

    ________________________________

  7. Kelsie

    Sounds like a great day. I love the thoughts/lessons on the journey. Good stuff.

  8. Donna

    Glad the weather is showing a milder side to you and greenery is popping up. Enjoy!

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