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Hi all of you 96 thruh and long distance hikers not yet on their way !

Just some final thoughts from me. These days I'm really down, constantly
thinking about hiking the AT, wishing to start with you (as probably
everybody on this list).

You will have the experience of a lifetime. It doesn't matter if you make it
all the way or not. You tried it and that's worth a lot. But there's not only
glory being a long distance hiker. There is also alot of PAIN.
I'm sure everybody done it agrees with me, you very easily forget all the
pain you went thru during these many weeks/months out there. But there are
many times you wish you were anywhere else but in the wilderness. Rainy days
without an end, bitter cold nights (!) and days, sweating, being hungry,
thirsty ...
But that is part of the experience, it makes the wonderful moments even more
special. You really have to be an optimist. All these countless knobs, where
you have to hike up to and then theres only trees, no view at all ... it
seems senseless, but they taught me to really enjoy the great views on other
The greatest trail magic occured to me right after days which almost made me
gave up. And I learned that is was worth fighting thru tough times, otherwise
you miss so much - wonderful people, great nature, the trail community, the
feeling of being a thru-hiker (yeah, I know I only hiked half way, but for me
it was the same).
And you are not alone, there are so many others connected with you between
Georgia and Maine, going thru the same tough days, wearing the same wet
clothes, having the same pain and enjoying similar great times.
Really important is to take some time off the trail. When my feed were so
sore and almost bleeding, I had to stop in towns to take a rest. It may be
hard to leave a nice hostel, a motel room with a shower or even places like
Rustys, but I found it even harder to stay there for long. The Trail was
pulling me. The time off the trail helped me physically recover and taught me
where I really belonged, on the AT.
It becomes your real home and family for the time being out there. And it
never lets you go, even years after you went away from it. Actually you can
never get away from the AT. It sometimes hard (like right now when so many
head out to Springer), but it's great to be connected with the Trail and all
the wonderful people who are also part of it.
I guess what I wanted to say was, just try to make it thru the pain, it's
worth it. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. There'll be always
sunny days after weeks of rain. Believe me, it's worth the pain !

Happy Trails,
C.C. Pride
GA-PA 94