It is only Day 7 on the Appalachian Trail and I am already overcome with so many emotions. So far, this trail is magical and I am in love with it. Even on the bad days. I have hiked in sunshine, heavy fog, pouring rain, sleet, snow and most recently; Africa hot dry heat. It has been fun and challenging and demoralizing all at the same time. My White Mountain hikes have more than prepared me for this challenge as I find it relatively easy to cover many miles in a single day. My pack, which felt so heavy on Day 1 going up the approach trail, has now become a part of me and I no longer feel it's weight while it's on my back. My hips and knees seem up to the challenge though my feet are another story. Both my heels have split open making it painful for me to step down completely when I walk. Hence my new trail name "tip-toe" because today I literally had to tip-toe my way down the side of Powell Mountain into Dicks Creek Gap.
I have met some amazing people so far from all over the world and have shared many laughs and grievances with them (mostly about blisters, boogers and poop; seriously this is all we thru-hikers talk about when we aren't talking about how much our packs weigh).
I have seen beautiful sunsets and sunrises, learned to push myself in new ways and felt a type of freedom that I never knew existed. I have experienced fun days, hard days, easy days and not-so-fun days all in one week. I can't wait for this journey to continue and the best part is every day is a new day and a walk into the unknown.