Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Month and a Wall Map

I ordered a massive cinnamon bun, heap of eggs, mound of pancakes, and pile of hashbrowns from a perky middle-aged woman with greying hair. She called my order out to the cook, who was standing several feet from her and had likely heard my order anyway. I looked around Pete's Place, taking in the small-town Maine atmosphere - an eclectic mix of decorations and people who live in Maine. The decorations consisted largely of hiking paraphernalia and the old Coke signs people associate with garage sales and reality TV shows about garage sales. After ordering, I sat back down at my table with a new friend from the trail, Gold Rush, named so due to his striking resemblance to a man on a reality TV show about gold mining. Gold Rush had hiked half the trail already, but "flipped" to Maine and was now southbounding to where he had previously gotten off the trail. As we waited for our food, I spotted a map of the AT on the wall. To be frank, I was feeling pretty good. I had just emerged from the 100-Mile Wilderness of Maine feeling confident and on top of the world. I had cruised through the first 115 miles of the AT, the most remote stretch of the trail, with few problems. I mean, I had only fallen into one log-studded mud-pit while night hiking in a thunderstorm and stood up and started walking the wrong way on the trail once. And I had only woken up and had to hobble the first 7 miles of the morning for 4 of the 4.5 days due to old-man soreness. And I only had to tape my blistered feet for like, 3 days. That's pretty good in my book. I was now ready to check out my tremendous progress on that there wall map. Oh yeah baby, 115 miles and 4.5 days in, this champ was ready to see the chunk of trail he'd knocked off.

So either the cook dropped ten pounds of pancakes on the flour, or my heart and soul had fallen out of my gaping mouth and hit the floor in a bloody crash reminiscent of the fall of the Roman Empire (y'all know that made a noise)...The cook was silent. Sizzle sizzle. Cool, definitely my heart and soul, good to know. I didn't need those anyway. My mind was wiped of all emotions for a few moments. Then a wave of dread washed over me like I have never felt before. I stared vacantly at the map. My God....I had not moved. I had done 115 miles. I still had about 2065 to go...was the map broken? Nope, that terrible red line sinuously traced its path for three more feet down that damn wall map. I would be being generous if I said I'd gone an inch. This was the moment I realized just what the hell I had gotten myself in to. Then the woman at the counter called out my order and I buried my feelings of self-doubt, trepidation, and mind-numbing horror with several pounds of breakfast foods.

It has been one month since that day. One month and many more pounds of breakfast food (and ice cream and pop tarts). I must say, I have put forth a fine effort to smother my wall map fears with heaps upon heaps of the dream diet of all 11 year old Americans. Snickers are the new granola bar! But, a month has passed, and so too have I progressed a few inches on that wall map. I no longer wretch away from the sight of those ubiquitous maps, but gaze at them in a kind of amused stupor. Damn, there's a lot of adventures packed into those inches. Right now, I'm 871.3 miles from Katahdin. That's like, enough inches of map that I no longer recoil in fear at the sight of a snaking red line and the outlines of every east coast state. But the other few feet do still scare me a little...

My location on the wall maps from hell tells me that I am now I n New Jersey. As someone from Pennsylvania, I contain within myself an intrinsic repulsion for New Jersey (but not the Jersey Shore, that doesn't count as New Jersey). Henceforth, I am baffled by my apparent love for this section of trail. Rolling pastureland, trail side delis, and the fact that I remembered I was carrying a Burger King crown have caused me to actually enjoy the armpit of America. So as I grapple with the realization that my life may in fact be a lie, I shall walk one more day through dirty Jerz and then tumble into the outstretched arms of my home state. I will see my family in 3 days, and hopefully no more wall maps between now and then


Burger King

Miscellaneous Fun Facts:
- I ate 8 pop tarts in one day for breakfast
- Today I ate 2000 calories of Nutella after going to Dairy Queen
- I hiked until midnight two days in a row to get a package before the post office closed
- The aforementioned post office had lost my package
- Today I ate two raw packages of Ramen Noodles
- I am wearing a Burger King crown right now

Mail is always welcome! Send it here and my momma shall put that mail in my next mail drop package.

Jeff Mogavero (AT)
3036 Robin Lane
Havertown, PA 19083

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog - can't believe you pecked it out again on a phone. Keep on trucking Jbird - you are doing amazing!!! Can't wait to see you - even if ever so briefly -on our Sunday rendezvous! XO