I’m here!!!! It has been one year and two days since I made the decision to go on this hike. In that year, I’ve done countless hours of research, training, buying supplies and praying. Now the day has finally come. Last night I had my last good shower, last shampoo, last time shaving, last night in a comfy bed and last episode of Friends on Netflix. It’ll definitely be hard to give all of those things up, especially shaving (I loathe hairy legs), but whats way more painful was saying goodbye to people this past week. This includes all of my college friends and professors, roommates, high school friends and family. I’m going to miss all of you a lot.
Moving on…Friday morning my mom, dad and I loaded all of my stuff (which I finished packing at 3:00am…..oops!) into the truck and headed for Damascus. When we pulled up to the town I felt a surge of emotion well up inside me. It wasn’t fear or nervousness, like I would have expected, but instead it felt like home. I looked up at the beautiful mountains before me and knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. We spent the day exploring the city and enjoying the ‘Trial Days’ festival. It was fun, but I was shocked at how few hikers I saw. That’s when we explored some more and found ‘Tent City’. It was a giant field filled with thousands and thousands of hikers and tents. This is where I plan on trying to make friends today.
I was having a blast, but I could tell my dad was getting more and more anxious with each passing minute. He’s not a fan of his daughter walking across the country by herself with no prior backpacking experience. I haven’t the slightest clue why! Just as we were about to head out for the day, we ran into some lost hikers who we offered to drive to Tent City. There were two girls from Kansas City names Firefly and Moonbow (you go by trail names here), and two boys from Germany named Mother F***er and I don’t remember the other name. I must have been too distracted by the name Mother F***er. We dropped them off and the boys went on their way. The girls, however, stayed to talk to us. They were very nice and helped to ease my dad’s worries 100 fold. They explained how safe the trail is and offered to hang out with me when my parents left. I really hope I can find them today. We then stopped for dinner before snoozin’ at the hotel. My last meal was filet mignon and creme brûlée martini. Not bad!
Well, that’s it for my first day amongst the hippies. We’ll see how today goes. Fingers crossed I make friend! I can’t wait to update you in next week’s blog about my first week. Maybe i’ll even get a trial name.