Mile 78.5, GA/NC border to Mile 273.5, Hot Springs, NC

The ground is moving fast under my feet. The path illuminated by a sliver of moon, a sky of bright stars…and a dim, battery drained headlamp. I am hiking through the night and I feel one with the trail in the darkness. When the last bit of pink and orange left by a setting sun disappear, something quite unexplainable seems to over take me. On edge but completely at peace, all senses alert yet all senses freed…I pass salamanders and centipedes at at hyper speed. Endless hill climbs take me to ridge lines and from atop of the Smokey mountains I stop in the howling wind to gaze down on distant city lights. With a deep sigh I will press on; eager to race ahead yet excited to slow down. As this solo hiker gives herself to the night, it  leads her to where and when she needs to be. Onward to sunrises…To spring flowers…To hail storms… To sexy snakes…To Paul’s boots…To lots of lookouts…To the best napping spots ever…To fantastic people…To AMAZING trail angels…To eerie shelters where people sleep in cages…(I slept in my little tent and was thought crazy for “sleeping with the bears”)To brave deer and bears who like to sit on the trail, the latter of whom I don’t take out my camera for…To kite flying and basketball games… To rain…and to cats and dogs…To big miles and big meals… And to where just for a moment, the trail turns to sidewalk…

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