It now was Tiger Bob’s turn to be motivated as he looked forward to being reunited with his wife in Dalton Mass. The trail has taken a flatter trajectory at lower elevation which means more wear, roots, and mud. TB bounded up the mountains without stopping until the last sharp climb. It was Sunday and well Sundays are getting tougher for me emotionally as time closes in on the one year anniversary to the death of my oldest son. I find myself often on the verge of tears and somewhat perplexed as I wonder if I am moving on or moving backwards. I am sure it is equally perplexing for those around me.
After getting into Dalton, I decided to camp at a man’s house who has offered his yard free of charge to thru hikers for 36 years. He had a five minute speech for me, particularly about keeping quiet so as not to disturb his neighbors. I asked him if he was getting burned out and he remarked that he has had problems only in the past two years with hikers being loud, leaving trash, and disregarding his home. As I began to set up my tent the owner pulled his car into the driveway and out jumped Waiting. Hey Phantom, she exclaimed and Hey Waiting I called back to a chorus of “SHHHUUUUSH” from the owner. I just had to smile. After I got set up, I crawled in my tent as it began to thunder and rain again. This time I felt secure, somewhat content as I continued to reflect on the Sabbath and all that it now means to me. I reached out to several friends and family to soulfully sound out my thoughts and get some much needed support.
Today I packed up my wet gear, headed to the motel in town and am zeroing for the 1st time since getting back on the trail. I took one voluntary zero in the first half to go to trail days and now I am using a second to wait for Tiger Bob as he met with the organization, Mercy Flights, for whom he has raised thousands of dollars. Bee Stinger met up with us again so we are sharing a room. He is good company but it sounds like he will slow down on his mileage when we leave in the morning. This has been a good day for me to resupply, regroup, and relax for an entire day. The hotel is reasonably priced and in relatively good shape. Also I met a section hiker from Colorado, eight years my senior who motivated me to pursue my dreams. It seems that when I first got on the trail I saw so many possibilities for my life but then as time has marched on, I have discarded dreams, gotten more realistic and narrowed my scope. I am going to keep the aperture open as possible and maybe someday Sunday will smile again.