Leaving town we were blessed with great weather, the perfect kind of fall weather. Cold, crisp air, the kind of chill that disappears when you walk for a few minutes. i was sad to not be able to enjoy it. My lungs felt heavy, filled with liquid, making it harder for me to take in each breath. Having a hard time breathing, my muscles ached and burned without the proper amount of oxygen. I pushed hard, getting my short breaths into a good rhythm. Pushing myself into a state of absolute efficiency, only using the muscles required to scale the mountain. Passing both Flailing and Earthling I climbed and climbed, rewarded for my hard work with a stupendous view of the valley and lake below. Here I would wait for them, catching my breath and allowing my heart rate to return to normal.
With every great view we took our required break to enjoy the scene. Flailing wasn’t doing well, but he was better than before. We wanted to push on, to do some miles to make up for the past few days of short mileage. Looking at the topo we saw there were many places to stop for the night and figured it wouldn’t matter much if we just got some distance in. I walked behind the two of them as I usually did, allowing my mind to drift over the ups and downs of the day. Maine was just around the corner and I could taste it. I had come so far and the end was so close. I thought back to everyone and everything that had transpired over the past five months.
It has taken so much to get here, physically for me, pushing past injuries, ailments and lack of strength. Since breaking my leg, I’ve found how weak my leg had become over the year. All of my injuries were in my right leg as it had to compensate for my weakness. I knew that the trail was changing me, guiding me, directing me, but I didn’t know where I was being led. I’d had more job offers in New Hampshire and New England than any other place. Was I suppose to stay here? Should I return to Delaware and to my family. The trail looking back would have two outcomes, either fulfilling my need to travel and sating the thirst or stoking the fire pushing me to travel more. My fire now burned bright, I knew I couldn’t slow down, this adventure would only lead to others and I had to go. But what of my family and friends?
Those questions would have to be answered later, all that I knew to do was to follow the white blazes and I trusted just in that. The trail, God will lead me to my next venture after this one. For now, coming back and talking with my scout troop was part of the plan. When I had left they were just finishing school, now they would be back and my coming back would be the prefect time to talk about backpacking for them. Oh how I had come to not only truly love backpacking, but I truly appreciated it, in all the little things, from a flat place to put my tent down to a cold soda on a hot day.
Everyone was pushing hard that day, we had five days of food and it weighed us down big time. Our goal was now set at the lakeside camp, hoping for flat ground. Pushing ahead i wanted to get set up for the evening. Boy where we in luck for the evening, the beautiful still lake had just the spot for us. Off the lake and out of view I found a good spot, Flailing found an even better spot after he arrived. Picking our stuff up we set up where he was and took photos of the lake as the sun set. I spent my time writing as they ate dinner, sleep would come quickly for me. That was until I was awoken in the middle of the night by a moose calling out in the distance. Drifting back to sleep i dreamt of moose and other animals. Little did I know that the large graceless animal passed by in the night at sometime. I had missed out on seeing my first moose, but I was glad I hadnt woken up and put my face right in his.