Yesterday, hiking continued to be pleasant, in part due to my time in Frederick with friends and also to the friendly trail. Southern PA has been kind to my knees and feet. I found another great site away from the weekend warriors and soaked my feet in the cold stream while I washed out my socks to hang on my pack. I have gotten great tips from several of my seasoned friends on how to deal with my feet and am using them to get and stay healthy. I am also benefiting from talking to close friends who continue to support me and encourage me. I am so blessed. One of the nicest things Lori ever said to me is that I have such great friends. Its true, they lift my spirits, make me laugh, and are just good people. A Marine once described them as a good piece of gear, and now I get it. And they get me, I see the pain in their eyes when I talk about our loss, I see the joy in their eyes when I talk about our gain. I hurt, I hurt everyday. the physical pain is a welcome distraction as each day I continue to cry out “Why” when I know there is no answer. I see boy scouts along the way and mention that my sons were scouts once and quickly am at a loss for words. I want to tell them about our glory days on the Pinewood Derby track but its a distant memory, yet still fresh in my mind. I’m now in PA, my home, my family’s home, my son’s home. I feel peace here and I feel an uneasy emptiness, yet I am comforted and completed by the enveloping flora and family.
I have met some challenges, I leave very little undone. Halfway fills my spirits and intimidates me all at the same time. I can do this now, I know, I have to do it over, I worry. I am putting worry behind me, I focus.
So what is left after passing into another state, passing 1/2 way, and passing the 1100 mile mark, you ask. How about eating 1/2 gallon of ice cream, of course at Pine Grove Furnace State Park general store. The last time I was at PG SP I was in charge of a State Hospital Picnic. Now it was my turn to overeat. The 1/2 gallon challenge is a great marketing scheme and its a great way to get thru hikers to get sick on a sugar high. I’d like to think I’m above this adolescent atmosphere. but I know I’m not so I wisely chose Neapolitan and for my success was rewarded a wooden 3 inch ice cream spoon. Will the accolades ever cease? Ice Cream challenge, huh? Maybe something that could be repeated, lets say, at an upcoming family reunion?