I'd like to start my first update about my sojourn on the Appalachian Trail with several moving words that were uttered to me today. Today was a town day. I hitched into Manchester, VT and picked up a resupply box that my mom had mailed me. There is a Ben and Jerry's in this town. I knew that. For four days, I imagined myself gently caressing a waffle cone in my exceptionally clean hands, pressing my tongue against the dense, yet so soft, creamy goodness of Vermont's finest frozen dessert. To my great dismay, and I'm sure all of yours, the dispensary of heaven was...closed. Awash in angst, I stood at a cross roads. In actuality, I stood in the middle of a turning lane in a parking lot faced with a painful dilemma. Mcflurry, or a pint of BJs from the store? I opted to revisit the grocery store and quickly downed 1200 calories of God Himself. Feeling a surge of energy that only 110 grams of sugar can provide, I made my next move. I went to Starbucks.
It is important to note here that I am not a coffee drinker. Coffee shops tend to overwhelm me, as I manage to order incorrectly more often that not. But I have found a safety item over the years: the mocha. Just enough chocolate so I can't taste the coffee, and just enough coffee so I still go nuts. I was bold in that Starbucks today. After ordering, the woman that made my beverage proclaimed these life-changing words, "salted caramel mocha frappuccino!"
Why, why oh why, has no one ever introduced me to this concoction? It's as if a mocha made love to a milkshake and their child was so pristine in demanded to be topped with whipped cream, caramel, and salt. I will now be craving this beverage (food? Meal? Dessert? Nirvana?) for the next 1650 miles. It is also now abundantly clear to myself that I am still quite under the influence of caffeine as I watch the sun set and storm clouds roll in over Manchester.
But I think this is an update of my time on the trail. In a way, I have captured much of my life in the above two paragraphs. Due to the timing of my hike, I rarely hike with other humans. I see plenty, but largely just to say a quick "hello" and make small talk. Henceforth, I am able to very thoroughly think things over in my head. Just two afternoons ago I spent a few hours planning a future homestead, all the way down to the apple varieties I would plant to how my future partner and I would have to give up our cozy bed and move into the loft of the cabin when my elderly parents (can I say that? Let's be real by the time I have a home you two will be at least 90) come to visit.
As I reflect on my first 22 days of life of the AT, I can report in good confidence that the trail is going well. I have met countless incredible people, and some pretty weird ones too. I'm usually hiking by 6:30am and call it a day around 7pm if I'm at a good spot, or put on my headlight and do some night hiking until I get to a better one. Maine and New Hampshire were absolute joys to travel through on foot. Both states were filled with some fabulous scrambles, wide-open alpine traverses, and steep, wet slabs. Vermont so far is seriously producing some top-notch moments. Every road crossing I eagerly anticipate the potential to sample a probably-sour-but-maybe-not apple. Every climb means that at mid elevations, I may be able to feast on blackberries. And ya never know, sometimes you can detour to the summit of a ski resort and pay $8.00 for a cookie and ice cream sandwich (damn you Killington and your over-priced rubbish plastic-tasting cookies).
I'm starting to hear some thunder rumbling in the distance. Wait nope that's a plane. Yup, definitely a plane. Either way, this was an exhausting entry to tap out on my dang phone. The caffeine is definitely wearing off. But! I have some M&M's that must be consumed In several gleeful moments of chocolate ecstasy waiting for me by my tarp.
Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino
p.s. I'll write again when properly over-caffeinated and sugar high
p.s.s. Thanks for the mail! Letters are always welcome :)