Its 5/16 and I have just finished mowing the yard and picking mulberries for the family that picked us up in the storm 2 days ago. The lady is related to one of the fellows I'm hiking with (Wiffle Ball) but he had only met her once before. She and her husband have been super great to us feeding us and providing shuttles for a 27 mile day hike and letting us use their home as a base in the Macafee Knob area. We are near Roanoke VA and the terrain is beautiful. Uplifted and tilted rock cliffs with views for miles. This is the beginning of the Blue Ridge range and we will be leaving our special hosts today. I was told by an experienced thru-hiker, Baltimore Jack, at the beginning of this journey that before it was over I would be staying in someone's home I had never met before. It is just over 700 miles into the trip and that is now happening.
Dianne, our hostess, was reading her daily journal, a sort of spiritual daily thoughts book, and yesterday, the day we met and stayed with her, the book said that people often enter our lives from what appears to be coincidence but they are there for a reason and we must accept their presence and exchange kindness...I'm convinced there is no such thing as coincidence. There are choices and consequences but not coincidence and fate and destiny.
My hike is probably, in the eyes of most of my peers, the wrong thing to be doing. For me it is the only thing to be doing and if it were wrong I would have already felt that by now. It is counter to the common path, true, but it is correct for me and I am growing stronger from this experience. I hope everyone who supports me and depends on me can trust this choice. This is difficult. This is not just walking, it is walking straight up, then straight down, in rain, wind, thunderstorms, and over very rugged terrain.
I was told by someone before I left that parts of the AT were "gross". I'm sorry, I haven't seen more that just a few miles of trail I wouldn't hike again tomorrow. I have to recommend, the Roan Highlands, Grayson Highlands, and the section from Catawba, Va to Daleville, Va. to all who like to hike. I am learning a new language out here also. Things aren't "cool" or "nice" they are AWESOME or ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.
I am walking with a group of hikers who have a great sense of humor. Since everyone has trail names and signs in at registers I really don't know most of the thru hikers, only that they are a unique subsection of society, each person being out here with a different perspective and motivation. For me, my motivation seems to be the trail itself. I can't explain it any other way that to say that the trail shows me something different, either about my culture, environment, or myself...everyday. I have nothing to prove to anyone, I am not engaging in an athletic endeavor, and I don't consider this a test of any sort...I am learning and it is becoming my "job". I will see all of you on the other side of this thing.
Many of these posts are by Shelia Campbell, Michael's wife <3
Bath County, Kentucky resident, Michael Campbell, is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail to raise funds for the not-for-profit group dedicated to protecting Kentucky’s native forests, Kentucky Heartwood. Michael, a long-time member of Kentucky Heartwood, began his hike on March 22 at Springer Mountain, Georgia. By the first of September, after covering 2,181 miles of trail by foot, Michael will reach Katadhin Mountain in Maine and complete the entire trail.