“A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP.” -LAO TZU "The first 100 miles: “we only have to do that 21 more times!” It is amazing what will occupy your thoughts when you are alone in the woods with nothing to do but move forward. I’ll start with a list of songs that plague me with only a single verse or chorus: Come on Eileen- Dexys Midnight Runners Wagon Wheel- Darius Rucker Put One Foot in Front of the Other- Santa Clause is Coming to Town I would Walk 500 Miles- The Proclaimers I Wanna Dance With Somebody- Whitney Houston John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt Pour Some Sugar on Me- Def Leppard Just Lose It – Eminem I ended up buying ear buds from the dollar store with the intension of playing music or listening to podcasts in order to escape from this the mind-numbingly repetitive playlist. It’s like someone left me alone with only one really shitty and tragically scratched mixed CD. I haven’t actually used the ear buds because in the lull between songs I enjoy the subtle sounds of the birds, squirrels, and running water. AND, believe it or not, I occasionally have an intriguing thought or perplexing theory with unlimited time to mull it over. Two of these theories have served me extremely well on the trail. 1. It’s always up Even when they say it’s down, it’s always up. I actually learned this from an experienced flip-flop hiker, Terry, who I met on day 1 at the vista of Springer Mountain. The truth of this mantra lies within the danger of false expectations. Even when the terrain is moderate, if I expect an easy day, that one tough uphill will destroy me. If I instead tell myself, “It’s always up,” I will be happy when it’s not and I’ll have a laugh when it is! 2. It’s always at the bottom No matter what you need or how well you plan, or how many different ways you pack, that thing that you need is always on the bottom. Want a snickers bar after lunch? It is on the bottom of the food bag. Want ramen instead of rice? Guess what, on the bottom! The smallest things can be infuriating out here, but (stay with me through this cliché) they are all small things. I will often catch myself cursing the shelter for being an extra half mile off the trail or the sky (how dare it rain when I just did laundry?). The best solution is to stop, take a moment, and laugh! A list of other things I’ve learned so far: 1. Pooping in the woods is better than in a privy (bury that shit – literally) 2. Electrical tape fixes everything *I said electrical not duct! Get over it! 3. Towels and rain jackets make suitable clothes for laundry day 4. I can pee with my pack on! *Save time, save the world, use a bandana ladies. 5. Check hiker boxes before resupplying 6. Nobody likes unwarranted advice 7. Shop with a basket not a grocery cart, you need to know how much that shit weighs 8. Rhododendron fumes are toxic and give you diarrhea – don’t use as firewood *this one was not from personal experience! 9. Bird baths are heavenly and well-deserved AKA – hanky-baths Stay Classy P.S. Send snacks
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