Written By: Emily "Lightning" Ginger
We are currently hiking in the state of Vermont. The scenery New England has to offer has begun to remind me of what I remember from our family vacation to Acadia National Park when I was a child- dense forest, streams, ponds, rivers, lush green mountains, etc. Sometimes the ground is so soft and thick with pine needles that I feel like I'm bouncing across a giant trampoline as I leap through the trees. The bodies of water we encounter are gorgeous, and also a great source of refreshment; I enjoy taking a dip in the evening to rinse the sticky salt from my skin, which is entirely drenched in sweat all day. I'm excited to hike up the White Mountains in New Hampshire (I'm looking forward to a sunrise from a view that goes for miles), and I hope to see a Moose in Maine! I am overwhelmed with excitement knowing that there's just a little more than 500 miles left and only two more states that follow this one. We are almost in Maine!
Though I'm excited to be finished and say that I accomplished this challenge, it's also saddening. There are so many opportunities for unique experiences throughout the Appalachian Trail that I wish I had more time to pursue them. We are hiking with a deadline which at times restricts the experiences we are able to have, but I wonder if we weren't on a deadline if we would then be dealing with other issues such as staying motivated to continue hiking and not getting detoured by all the bonus "distractions" along the way. For instance, we did a "work for stay" at an organic farm in MA. I had so much fun that I would have liked to stay and work there for a few more days. Also, recently we have been invited into several people's homes who gave us wonderful company/hospitality, hot showers, laundry, and a place to sleep- all complimentary (I don't think they would take money for it). Again, I would love to spend a few days getting to know these people and the towns in which they live. It's amazing how many people the Appalachian Trail brings together into a widespread but close-knit community of kindhearted, generous, and friendly people. I am definitely going to miss the abundance of genuine, and open- hearted people. I wish the rest of the world were more like the AT community.