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[at-l] KC is back

     Well, my attempted thru hike turned out to be quite the adventure. We left March 2nd from Springer Mt GA and within the first three weeks we had a snow storm, ice storm, rain storm, sleet storm, wind storm and a little bit of sun. The temps dropped below 0 a couple of times but we managed to stay warm by gathering wood and building campfires. In the summer,,,the temp reached over 110 degrees on top of a ridge one day. I saw deer, a red wolf, a bob cat, lots of snakes (one that chased me up a hill for about 20 feet), turtles, hawks, turkeys, lizards, a couple of bulls, cows, horses, dogs (some not so friendly), spiders,,,,and awe yes,,,,let us not forget all those shelter mice!
     The scariest moment was when the temp was 17 degrees at 3pm and was dropping fast. We huddled in the shelter hoping to live through the night! The next morning there was 3 inches of snow on the ground and the hike was beautiful! My favorite moment was the sunset on a ridge that overlooked several small southern towns just out of Pearisburg, WVA.
     I learned a lot about myself,,,,and now am a more confident person. I questioned all my beliefs,,,some I kept,,,some I threw away. I learned that I could survive without water for an entire day. I learned that you really don't need a bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room or bedroom to be comfortable. I learned to get water out of a small dribble of a stream,,,to watch the sky for weather changes,,,to enjoy the sun, snow, rain, mist, fog, heat, cold and even the "just right" days!
     I had to end my hike because of an injury. Somehow I managed to injure my big toe on my right foot. I ended up going to the doctor and he said that it would take six months to a year to heal. I am NOT allowed to hike for at least six months,,,,bummer. I do plan on thru hiking the AT in the year 2001 or 2002. There are some things I will do differently,,,no mail drops for food,,,I always had way to much food in my pack. I managed to get my pack weight down to 16 pounds,,,without food or water. I loved my hiking sticks and esbit stove,,,oh yes,,,and my thermarest! I also loved my hydration system,,,I drank a lot more water with the tube near my mouth at all times. We used a bounce box to towns up ahead for town clothes, soap, etc,,,we will use this again.
     I met all kinds of people on the trail,,,some good,,,some bad. I was glad I was carrying my pepper spray but never had to use it. Hiking poles came in handy also,,,for those,,not so friendly dogs. I also purchased an umbrella that came in handy on several occasions.
     I had a wonderful time,,,,I cried,,,laughed,,,sang,,,cursed,,,,walked when I didn't think I could take another step,,,hiked an extra 6 miles one day just so we could eat pizza, drink beer and take a shower (did 21 miles that day). We hiked 800 miles before my injury. I will hike the AT again and I will summit Katahdin in Maine! KC