bri on the AT

Adventure Time on the Appalachian Trail

Day 71 – may 10 stanimals hostel waynesboro, VA

I am seriously behind on posting and realized if I am going to be “real-time” in my posts I need to just get over my anal nature of wanting to document things in an orderly fashion. I’m only gonna post on the days I have WiFi for that day. I wanted to be able to do more and document more, but without the cell access and unlimited battery life you all are used to….it just isn’t feasible.

I’ll always try to include links to the Instagram and YouTube media I upload to help with the visuals to the stories…it is faster than trying to upload everything onto this blogging site and making it all look nice and cohesive. So please forgive the disjointedness of it all!

I’ll be doing more flashback style writing to fill in backstories as needed, but for now I want to just stay current.

We arrived into Waynesboro, VA this morning around 8:30am after 22 miles of hiking to a shelter that would get us five miles from town. We hiked 21 miles before that because we hiked a short 13 mile day because….well, we just needed to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the blue sky and the puffy clouds. So, cambyr and I stopped in a beautiful field (2 days ago) to get water from a spring and I laid out on my sleeping pad and just enjoyed the sky. Cambyr came back and joined me and neither of us had any desire to move. So we didn’t move for a few hours. It was glorious! We have earned it! I mean it was only a few days ago that we passed the 800 mile mark! We are getting so close to 1,000 miles! I can hardly believe it!

Now we are here, on the verge of entering the Shenandoah national park! We have looked at the map and see the elevation doesn’t change more than a few thousand feet in elevation and is more moderate than other sections we’ve hiked. Sounds like people are planning to get through the 128 miles in about 5 days. That would be a 25.6 mile per day and a hiking schedule of prob around 7am -6pm (with a lunch break) everyday for five days. That’s a tall order even for us having pulled a number of 20+ days already. To be that consistent…

however, it’s something we will have to do as officially the park is still closed. There have been rumors of rangers being posted to deter thru-hikers but rumors often aren’t the reality. We were hoping they would already be open by now, but either way, we are walking home. Period.

how do we survive the long days and miles?

I wanted to give you some insights into our strategy for the long days/miles we put in. It isn’t easy by any means, but it isn’t torture either. We have rough patches…some call them the “runners wall” but we know they will pass, guaranteed, in time. We are getting better at gracefully acknowledging the wall, accepting its presence and then deliberately choosing any thoughts that feel better…anything that offers some relief. It usually starts simple, like ….right now my hands are cold, I like the thought of warm hands. We realized there is a different feeling when we use different words. We noticed saying “I wish my hands were warm” feels less empowering and almost has a tone of unlikely to happen….as if wishing things automatically makes them impossible dreams. Yet, when we change it to simply enjoying the thought of having warm hands…it brings tremendous relief! And then it gets fun….

…I enjoy thinking about being in dry clothes. I enjoy thinking about my feet in warm sand. I enjoy thinking about my feet being massaged. I enjoy thinking about soaking my feet in warm water. I enjoy the thought of me wearing a summer gown that feels feminine and sexy. I enjoy the thought of dining at a nice restaurant in my gown with the perfect air temperature. I enjoy the feeling of satisfaction a full belly brings. I love thinking about high quality healthy conscious food. I enjoy the thought that I made this dream of hiking the AT come true. I like thinking about all the other dreams I have and all the chances they have of coming true.

And this is a big chunk of our hikes! It typically goes on for hours, but hours out here are a blink of an eye and miles become simple steps. Time and distance have both taken on different meanings and feelings. Time has always been our friend and is always on our side. Distance is just a marker for where you have been and where you would like to be. And the games we play to stay positively focused make our friends Time and Distance closer and deeper every day.

I love the deep and unique friendships we are developing with both Time and Distance.

And I love the game of thinking better thoughts!

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13 Comments

  1. Maureen May 11, 2020

    Dear Cambyr and Bri,
    Though your family and many friends are distant, our thoughts and shouts of encouragement are close at hand. Listen! Hear that? That’s me yelling, “Go, go, go!”

    Be well and happy. I am looking forward y to reading your book when this journey is complete. Name? Social distancing on the Appalachian Trail!

    Sending love, warm feet, dry clothes and good chocolate.

    Happy birthday, Cambyr!

    Xxoo Momo and Paul

    • briana May 11, 2020 — Post Author

      Thanks Mo (and Paul) !
      We watched “A walk in the woods” last night for Cambyrs bday with a bunch of hikers and had some good laughs… And how Bill Bryson felt through out his journey are my current sentiments… No book! Lol… But then again I’m not a famous author either!

      Glad you are enjoying the blog!
      Chickweed

  2. Hope Abramson May 11, 2020

    What a great idea to imagine what you want to have rather than wallowing in feelings of misery! You are both an inspiration!

    • briana May 11, 2020 — Post Author

      Thank you so much Hope! It’s been quite an inspiring journey, so glad you are able to follow us!
      Chickweed

  3. Jack Santos May 11, 2020

    I am so enjoying your posts and following your hike. Especially in these virus-times. You are both an inspiration!. Just to say that we are all sharing the same experience of enjoying the thought of dining at a nice restaurant 😉

    Stay safe and on the path!

    • briana May 11, 2020 — Post Author

      Thanks Jack! So glad we could both enjoy my dining experience so much! Stay tuned! 😀
      Chickweed

  4. Peter Kim May 11, 2020

    Did you actually stay at Stanimals? Are hostels still open for you?

    Keep on truckin’, Chickweed!

    • briana May 19, 2020 — Post Author

      We stayed at BOTH stanimals…he’s a good friend now! Most hostels have been open and have been our saving Grace in many ways!
      We are a truckin right along!
      Chickweed

  5. Amy DeMello May 12, 2020

    I love reading your adventure and still get so excited when I see you have made a new entry! Thanks for bringing us along with you, your descriptions and pictures and videos bring us such joy. Lili and Sam enjoy it too and we are so impressed with Cambyr, tell her to keep up the amazing work!! Sending hugs your way❤️
    Amy

    • briana May 19, 2020 — Post Author

      Amy! (Sam and Lily),
      We are so happy to hear you are with us! It’s been a crazy ride and we will get more out very soon!! Just finished the Shenandoahs and will be in West Virginia in only 3 days! Almost to 1,000 miles!
      See you soon!
      Chickweed and Kaleidoscope

  6. Paul May 13, 2020

    I too, am enjoying following your updates. I wish I was young enough, or in better shape to even think about attempting such a great adventure. Stay Safe

    • briana May 19, 2020 — Post Author

      Paul, I bet if you told me your age I could point you to a hiker that age that has done it! You are never too old and you are as old as you think you are! Stay inspired and dream of yourself in an adventure everyday and it will happen….that’s how I did it!
      Chickweed

  7. Marie May 23, 2020

    Salut! Les filles!
    Bravo et encore bravo 👏 vous êtes une inspiration pour passer à travers les moments plus difficiles Que la vie nous lance. J’adore cette façon positive de voir les chose.
    Bonne continuation!
    Marie
    💕💕

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