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[at-l] A Hiker's Purgatory <was: A Thoreau quote>

J. Mark wrote: 
> But are there cell phones?  Or is that purgatory? 

I wonder what the 7 Circles of Purgatory might look like for a long-distance AT hiker. Let's see...

1st Circle: The Snore-shelter. You just did your first 30 miler. It's pouring down rain. You can't
take another step. There are no flat or non-rocky spots for a tent. There is one spot left in the
shelter. You take it. Everyone snores VERY LOUDLY. You get 8 minutes of sleep. Repeat every day. 

2nd Circle: The Tough Hitch. It's 20 miles to the nearest town. You sprained your ankle and can't
walk anymore. It's 34 degrees and pouring down rain. You're out of food. Every 5 seconds, a truck or
SUV with plenty of room drives by. They slow down when they see your thumb, yell "Get a job!", and
drive on. Repeat. 

3rd Circle: The Never-Ending False Summit. You trudge and trudge and trudge, just knowing that the
crest you see is the pinnacle of the climb. When you finally get there, you see that it's not.
Repeat. Repeat again. Repeat again.... Think of the climb out of Wesser, except that it never ends. 

4th Circle: The Never-Lightening Load. You eat all your Pop-Tarts, Mac-N-Cheese, Gorp, and Gatorade
mix on the first day. Your pack gets heavier. You ditch your tent. Your pack gets heavier. You stop
carrying water. Your pack gets heavier....

5th Circle: The Worm-Hole Blue Blaze. You have hiked from Springer to Katahdin Streams Campground.
It rained EVERY SINGLE DAY, but it's perfect and sunny for your summit. You decide to take a little
side trail before heading up to the top. After what seems like a couple of miles of hiking, you end
up back at Springer. It's raining. Repeat. 

6th Circle: Lipton AYCE's. Every day, you push big miles to get to the AYCE in the next town on
time. Every day, the AYCE is filled with faux-Mac-n-Cheese, Spam, bland beef jerkey, plain
cous-cous, and your least favorite flavor of cold, undercooked Lipton noodles. To make matters
worse, you get full after one bite.

Somebody else will have to come up with the 7th Circle... i'm fresh out of ideas. 

Walk with Dante,


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