The social dynamic of the trail has changed drastically for us. We took an entire week off with our families which means the group of people we were hiking with for the first 1,000 miles is now 6-7 days ahead of us. We still keep in touch with them on Facebook and in the shelter logs, but we never see them in person anymore. To all of our of our trail friends, we miss you guys and hope you're having a great hike!!
The other thing that is new for us, is the lack of people we see each day. Since we started in early April we were already in the later part of the hiking season, but now with the time off and the fact that we average only 15-18 miles a day we are finding ourselves in the very back of the pack. We see the same 5-8 people on the trail and not many more than that. I do realize that we are at the point where many people have gotten off the trail and that's a factor too. Statistics from prior years show that over half of the people who started the trail will quit by Harpers Ferry.
My mindset has shifted too. Remember when I said it was too overwhelming to think about Katahdin and that I just focus on small goals? Yea, those days are gone. I do still have small goals that I'm working towards, but now the end feels reachable. We've started doing the math and trying to figure out how many miles a day we need to average to make it there by October 1. Hikers that started early this season are already in Maine and it makes me think, " ooh ooh, I want that too!!" and start looking ahead in the book. In short, I no longer see the next town stop as my immediate goal, but rather as a stepping stone to my ultimate goal.
The trail is different too. There are rolling farms, incredibly flat stretches of trail and monstrous boulders to climb. I've heard that rattlesnakes and PA go hand-in-hand, but I have yet to see one and I'm perfectly happy with that. Serial tells me that the rocks are going to get a lot worse until we get through NY so I'm preparing for sore feet and slower miles. It's all part of the adventure though.
So life in the trail has shifted and we're shifting with it. We're still committed to Katahdin and moving forward!! We have 140 miles until NJ and we plan to make the most of what PA has to offer. Thanks for the love and support - we appreciate it all!!