Rocksylvania

18 Jul

7/17 – 21.9 miles
7/18 – 18.0 miles
AT Mile Marker – 1,235.6 miles

Hope everyone is surviving the heat wave. I’m on my 10th liter of water of the day. I don’t even remember what air conditioning feels like. Probably a bit chilly for my taste.

Also making things difficult for me are… the boulder fields. AT hikers know Pennsylvania as “Rocksylvania” because God unloaded a dump truck of ’em overhead this state.

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We shared the shelter last night with two old women – one perhaps well into her 70s and the other similarly situated in her 60s. The four of us were so hot and knackered that we barely spoke a word to one another.

This morning, the old women woke up at 5:30. Though they seemed to work diligently, it took them a while to break camp. “Why are old people so slow?”, Bojangles asked me later.

They left before us, but we soon caught up to the women… in… a boulder field. We zoomed (relatively) past them, but I spent the next hour thinking about them. “How in the hell are they doing this?” “Why?” “It’s going to take them all day to get 10 miles.” I wish I would have gotten their stories. And a picture. But I barely said a word to them.

The bugs are terrible. My body is riddled with mosquito bites. 100% DEET insect repellent is doing nothing but giving me DEET poisoning. As for the gnats… they swarm around me as if I’m a steaming pile of cow dung. For sport, I killed 33 of them on my chest in the last half hour of hiking yesterday. Their blood and guts streaked my shirt.

And yet, yesterday at 6 PM, I was listening to Green Day and tripping over rocks and almost busting my head open when I realized I’m having the time of my life.

Yesterday, I accepted the job I will start in September — when this wild year comes to an end. And yesterday one of my dear friends from law school, who is my age, had lung surgery to remove cancer. And my Dad was bummed because his puppy Velcro had a bad night at obedience class. I told my future employer yes, I told my friend good luck, and I told my Dad to go back and try again.

I’m on this damn hike because I read a book about a woman my age who, fifteen years ago — with heroin tracks in her ankles — set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. She wrote, “The best thing you can do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.”

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6 Responses to “Rocksylvania”

  1. Aunt kes July 19, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Amazing!!!! I need to be eating my words. To think I only bet you would be out there 2 weeks. You are one tough cookie!!! Go Bo and Lib!!!

    • Lucie July 20, 2013 at 4:41 am #

      Thanks, Aunt Leslie! It’s been quite the ride!!

  2. fenu July 20, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    I hiked the AT in Air Force issue leather boots and PA completely destroyed a brand new pair @ 26 Dollars a pair in 1972 dollars, which was my biggest single expense for PA. My toes hurt well into VT.

    • Lucie July 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Uh oh… I got my first real blister in Pennsylvania. Happily walking into New Jersey tomorrow!

  3. sawilber@gmail.com July 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    Re: Old people are slow. Yes they are. It’s because when they were young they went out and beat themselves up doing things like … hiking.

    • Lucie July 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Haha, yep, I’m definitely gonna be a cripple! A life well-lived, right?! Those ladies are amazing.

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