Today I woke up knowing I would be back on my own in the woods. For something I chose to do in the first place, it was kind of depressing. I really enjoyed slackpacking and doing big miles; oh and showering, and eating dinner with my grandparents every night. It is almost like it is harder this time around, than it was initially. I had my last real breakfast and drove with Papa to the final drop off. We said our goodbyes, took some photos, and I was off. The pack was heavy, and the terrain was all uphill-this sucks. Eventually it leveled out along the ridge line which was better, but the heavy pack sucked. I came across a huge black snake on the trail and tried to use my trekking pole to have it slither off, this didn't work. This one was feisty and took offense. It turned around and elevated itself, ain't nobody got time for this! I bushwhacked around and walked on. I kept looking for an abandoned power line which was never there-and then I was at the shelter! Oh good, that means I am further than I thought; and about halfway done with my day. I sat at a campsite and relaxed, a couple came and sat down to eat lunch; so I ate too. I felt guilty pulling out my last made sandwich lunch, but then again I didn't. I was carrying a pack as a thruhiker and I carried that sandwich in. We talked for a bit; I wish I had someone out here with me all the time like they have each other. I would probably get sick of them though! After awhile I headed on, I was making decent time so I sat at a lookout to think. I had the intention to meditate, but then someone came to talk and chill for a bit. Cornrow Steve was his name, and after he left I meditated but not that long. The terrain became very rocky. Is this supposed to be fun? Before the 501 shelter, I came across some day hikers. I said hello to the first two, and then the third, and one woman stopped to talk. She had a strong accent which was all too familiar to me, knowing she was from New Hampshire; I asked where she was originally from-New Hampshire she replied. I told her how I was born there and lived in Gilford, after asking where she lived I got the response Gilmanton. What a small world, that is where Bonnie lives! Knowing it was a small town, I asked if she knew Bonnie (Last name.) Nothing rang a bell at first, she yelled up to her twin sister and asked; which she replied yes, I know Bonnie (maiden last name.) I explained how I am her grand daughter (it's just easier this way, however if they know her well they are probably thinking how her only son is not married and doesn't have a daughter.) What a small world, here I am hiking the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania and I meet people who know Bonnie. The sister then came down and mentioned how Olive (gram) had passed away, which I knew. They asked if I needed anything, said to say hello to Bonnie, and off I went. This made me smile. The rest of the day was so rocky, slowing me down. I was trying to find a campsite and thought I came to it, but it looked more like a stealth spot than a pronounced campsite. It wasn't flat, had rocks, and was crammed. Knowing it was still early, I decided this couldn't be it and headed up the dreaded boulders. And down the boulders. Finally at the bottom there was a pronounced campsite, this is where I set up for the night. I got here a little before 5:00 and plenty of people have passed, but no takers. It's still early to stop, but I did my 14.5 miles so I am done. Feeling kind of lonely so part of me hopes someone fun and friendly comes to camp. Tonight has been the first time I've kind of wondered what I am doing here, and if I am happy. I am happy, but it is hard when I was on such a high of luxurious slackpacking to back to being alone. It's all new people here, and I'm sure soon I will know them too; but I don't know-it's hard. It's like I am getting closer and closer to home, and that is messing with me too. I want to finish this hike no doubt, I just need to lighten up my pack with less days of carrying food. I got a text from Shane that made me smile and was just what I needed. It said he was so fucking proud of me. It made me feel great. I wonder how the rest of the week will go-Greg is supposed to come this weekend so that is something to look forward to. I think I have it planned so the rest of the nights I will be at shelters so that will help with people being around. I got to stay positive, and at times it's really hard.
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