Recovering from my harrowing escape from the licking ponies, I get back to the daily routine of hiker life. This routine is one of the most amazing experiences I have had the pleasure of living through. Imagine everyday is about doing what you enjoy and having the feeling of complete freedom! Sure you have your must dos and goals to accomplish like in everday life, but trust me, it’s not the same. A person still needs to perform the normal day-to-day activities that sustain us, but something as simple as not having the convenience of turning on a faucet for water makes getting water so much more fulfilling. Think about having to plan your day around where you get your water, only to get there and surprise there is no water. Now what!? You have to figure it out. I revere the dichotomy of the change and repetition one experiences. The feeling of getting up everyday and not knowing what you will see and experience that day, yet also knowing the everyday activity of hiking to Mount Katahdin remains constant. The daily repetition is meditative and calming in nature while the unknown fuels the adventurers wonderlust. For me the feelings that any long-term adventurous activity brings is to be truly alive! I have yet to experience this in the everday struggle of accomplishing the American Dream, which is sold to you everday.
Once I arrive in Pearisburg, VA I contact one of my friends whose parents have a cabin in Monroe County, WV, Plans are made for me to be picked up. I am headed to Albright, WV for the Cheat Fest, a music festival that helps to raise funds for Friends of the Cheat, a non-profit whose mission is to restore, preserve, and promote the outstanding qualities of the Cheat River Watershed. I will get a chance to kayak and listen to blue grass music. Thanks Clayton!
After I get off the phone, I head out in search of food. I decide on Mexican for dinner. I order a meal for two and margaritas for four at La Barranca. The next day I am on my way to Clayton’s parents cabin. I have another amazing dinner, sleep on the porch and then spend about a week in the tri state area of PA, MD, and WV, hanging out with friends and family. I am supper grateful for the support I get from everywhere! I am super lucky to be able to get on the water and kayak with friends while in the middle of this journey.
Back on the trail, I continue my quest north making steady progress towards Shenandoah National Park. Right after I hike through Shenandoah, I stop to visit an old high school friend, Ben and his family. They live just outside of Front Royal, the northern gateway community for the Shenandoah Valley. Fortunately for me, the trail almost goes past his house. It will only be a short hike to his place.