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Adrianaggraf - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2019

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Adriana "Dancing Queen" Graf
City: Austin
State: Texas
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 8, 2019
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Oct 9th, 2019
Start: US Route 58
End: Damascus
Daily Distance: 17
Trip Distance: 1,169.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 265
Journal Visits: 10,245
Guestbook Views: 271
Guestbook Entrys: 54

Last PLB Location

Appalachian Trail Map

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Started and ended in Damascus

...aaaand Scene.

17 miles

49,917 steps

2,336 calories

8 hrs

Well, he did it! I never doubted for a minute but now it does seem like the end would never come. Warren dropped us off at the trailhead at 6:45am Jon wanted to slack pack his last day. I wanted to stay the last night on the trail, at the Lost Mountain Shelter, but this was his deal so I didn't complain too much. The temperature did drop last night and was a bit rainy so it was probably for the best.

The day was just beginning to break as we started hiking so the first stretch was a bit dark in the wood. I already have difficulty hiking on rocks and roots when the full blown sun is out, so it made for slow going. But soon, light came out and the trail stretched wide and flat for a good mile. The rain the day before gave the trail new life it was thirsting for. It brought a freshness to the sights and smells, glistening leaves, water trickling, a coolness in the air.

It meandered on the Virginia Creeper trail for a while which made for easy hiking. However, although it was a less difficult section, it did provide steady uphills for a good portion that Jon could not escape on his last day. As a treat, Jon played music which helped pass the time, particularly the last 4 miles that were not that exciting.

As we hiked today I could only imagine what Jon must be thinking. Actually, at least I could imagine what I might be thinking if I had hiked 2192 miles nonstop for 6 months. Why did I do this? HOW did I manage to accomplish this? What next? What did I learn? Did I learn anything? Did I change? How will it be to be back home? How hard will it be to reassimilate? Will it be wierd to be around non AT hikers? How will I be able to keep active? Will I be able to be indoors more than outdoors now? Will I be kinder, more patient, more appreciative, less petty, more understanding, more helpful, less materialistic, more spiritual? Sooo many questions.

Exactly a year ago Jon had solidified his plan to hike the AT after attending Warren Doyle's AT Institute. His fall institute is going on right now and as we finished Jon's last few miles, we crossed paths with the 20 people taking the class. Warren must have told them and described Jon bc as they approached Jon got lots of high fives, fist bumps, "there he is, The Man" s, "congrats" and "way to go" s. It was like he was a celebrity...ha!!! Well I guess if you complete a thru hike on the AT, you kinda of are. It was a fun way to finish the trail, esp. since he didn't have any family or friends from back home waiting at the end.

We walked in to Damascus, took pics at the Welcome to Damascus sign and then celebrated at The Wicked Chicken with drinks and snacks. Was hoping hiker friends we met back at LickSkillet could join us but they didn't get back from their hike until later.

We got back and cleaned up by 7pm. Jon had agreed to be the guest speaker at the ATI. Fresh off the trail and ready to share some insights, dos and don'ts with a room full of thru hiker wannabes. It was a good day.

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Dancing Queen


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