Day 246: The last ramen

Ed Garvey Shelter [mile 2179.0]

Here we are. My last night on the Appalachian Trail, and what a long long long strange trip it’s been.

I was thinking about doing a ‘what I learned’ type of post, because what I’ve learned has been legion. But you know, if you come out here, the things you learn will be different. The trail teaches each of us the things we need to learn, and my things aren’t your things. That’s part of why the mantra of the hiking community is ‘Hike your own hike.’ In broader terms, Live and let live.

Am I different? No, not really. But the quiet has helped me pinpoint some things I’d like to work on.

And in six miles, give or take, I’ll have finished my bucket list! (Except maybe for those damned ponies.) At least the parts of it I have any say in. Winning the lottery is still on there. (At which point I’m jetting to new Zealand to do the Te Araroa, with a MUCH lighter pack.)

So. Last night was cold (naturally), but not as bad as Tuesday. My water didn’t freeze overnight. The day was gray November, though. It was raw and chill and never warmed up much. A weather change is coming. There’s a good chance I’ll be finishing in the rain (because the trail is never easy), and by Saturday it will be full-blown winter in Harpers Ferry. I’m getting out just in time.

Today… I walked! I know the trail is never easy, but today the terrain was. Superhighway and footpath. No obstacle course, no jungle gym. Just walking (with a side of rocks). I chatted with a dad and his two kids who are out for a few days. He asked one question I haven’t gotten from anybody who wasn’t thru-hiking NOBO, and certainly not this far south: “So how was the Mahoosuc Notch?” I love that I now have opinions about this stuff.

I passed what really might be my last memorial. It’s interesting being back in Civil War country. Makes me want to go home and watch the Ken Burns series again.

And it’s weird thinking about what I’ll do back home—car inspections and leaky faucets and chimney cleaning and house painting. Christmas shopping! That’s all become so alien. Luckily I don’t start work again for another week or so. I need a few days of transition time. And Thanksgiving’s in there, too.

Around noon tomorrow, the grand adventure finally ends. It’s been miraculous having you along for the ride.









Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Day 246: The last ramen

  1. Bawling with joy for you!!

  2. What a ride and what a writer! I’m going to deeply miss my Karma fix. Thanks for sharing and for teaching. I’m using a great deal that I learned from you. Sisu

  3. Lisa Milstead

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I too am crying with joy!

  4. Derek Vreeland

    Yea! Congrats Karma. You are the most courageous thru-hiker I have followed. Thank you soooooo much for sharing your journey with us. I literally smiled every time I got an email saying you updated your blog. And remember if you wanna talk about writing a book give me a holler! derekvreeland[at]gmail[dot]com

    • I don’t know about courageous. Stupid and relentlessly stubborn, more like. =D

      It’s been great having you along for the ride!

  5. Terry Lee

    Congratulations! I have been following you since April! I will miss your posts and beautiful pictures. Take a rest. You’ve earned it!

    Sent from my iPad


  6. Ginny Henninger

    Congratulations. You did it! Quite amazing. I will truly miss your story. I am sure your family will be glad to have you back. And I’m happy you made it thru safely. Love.

  7. Of all the A.T. blogs I’ve read this year, yours has been my favorite. Your unwavering determination and optimism are an inspiration. I will miss your posts! Although I’m glad you won’t be freezing your toes off hiking as winter deepens! Congratulations!!!

  8. singlegirlhiking

    Congratulations! Well done.

  9. Red

    Thank you for taking us along. I will miss your posts, but I am glad to think of you all toasty warm.

  10. Marge Figun

    Congratulations! I hope you add, to your bucket list, another big adventure, because, selfishly, I want to read more from you. You have been given a gift for writing. Thank you for sharing 8 months of this AT trail thru hike with all of us. You are amazing.

  11. Congrats!! It’s been so fun to be along for the ride, or walk 🙂 I hope you got what you came for and you know how amazing you are for completing this. Enjoy the achievement and all of the memories, they stay with you forever.

    • It was so very, very awesome. Magical! Thank you so much for all your comments and support. It got me through some of the grittier bits! 🙂

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

  13. Slo & Because

    Congratulation! It had been grand that you shared your journey all the way down to the last moment. If you wrote a book, I would love to have a signed copy! That way, I would say: this is Karma’s story. If you want to laugh, read it. If you want to cry, read it. If you want to know what it is like to walk the walk, read it. Be well Karma.

    • I hope you get back out there! I loved seeing your comments and thinking about the Smokies, especially when it got cold again.

      I’ll miss you both!

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