About the Author: Pat-Rice Z is a Jersey girl who has relocated to the DC area. She is a 2019 AT Thru-Hike hopeful who is considering going NOBO or leapfrogging, however the adventure unfolds. You can find her on Instagram @halfway_to_the_sky.

To see all of Patrice’s posts, click her name above!

Week 2: April 9-15

Do I still love the AT? Why yes. The climbs are not getting any easier but the time spent around a camp fire at night with your fellow AT hikers renews your soul for the next day. I have met the most unique people who have renewed by faith in humanity. 

I have had to climb steep mountains in 80 degree heat, 40 degree rain, and 40 mph wind this week. One of the climbs was so steep that it turned into hand over foot boulder climbing. I have to admit that the climb up to Albert Mountain, was quite fun. Whenever I get in a bad mood, I just remind myself of the privilege to be hiking the AT.

I have been thinking of my uncle Patrick lately. He passed away before I was born in his 30’s from MS. Based on stories I’ve heard as a kid, he loved the outdoors and adventures. He probably would have been out here on the trail with me. I can feel my feet and have voluntary control over my legs, I treasure every step I take towards my next goal. 

I’m currently waiting out a bad storm in Franklin, NC and it is such a cool town. While waiting by the side of the highway for the fourth member of my little tramily, three people stopped to offer us rides and one gave us free beers. We ultimately got a free ride from Ron Haven the owner of the Baltimore Jack Hostel even though we were not staying there. The next day we woke up and got free breakfast from the First Baptist Church. This last week has proven the saying, “the trail provides.” 

I’m starting to get the itch to travel farther, faster, and in shorter amounts of time. When I look on the map, I am impressed by the indent we have made in the miles to the northern terminus. Crossing the North Carolina border was so incredibly exciting. I sat down and stared at that wooden sign for about 20 minutes before continuing to Bly Gap for the most beautiful sunset I had seen in a while. The only times I have felt homesick have been in towns, because going to grocery stores and picking a place to go out to eat are the mundane tasks I normally do in my regular life. But out on the trail I feel transformed into a different person. I am genuinely happy out there in nature and I never want to leave. Once again even if tomorrow sucks, even if next week sucks, at least I had today and the experiences I have had thus far.