Healing In Nature
THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL: A PATHWAY TO RECOVERY FROM SEXUAL VIOLENCE
AT hikers often go by a trail name instead of their actual name. We talked briefly and exchanged why we were both hiking the AT. He was on his way to Maine. He asked if I was interested in walking together, so we started hiking. We talked a lot. He was very interested in Enneagram, a personality test. I learned about him, and he heard about me. He was number nine, and I received a number two when I had taken the test previously. He mentioned his trail family was really into the Enneagram and learning more about others. He told me how he had separated from his trail family after taking a week off because of the heat, but he hoped to catch up to his brother, who was around twenty miles ahead of him. A whole six miles nonstop, fast-paced, and I was too shy to suggest I needed a water break. Eventually, I told him I needed to stop, and we parted ways I made it to the shelter, where Susan told me she was staying for the night. I saw her walking uphill from the piped source below. I went down and saw her boyfriend, Matt, sitting with his shoes off, his feet dangling over the pipe. I remember being so happy to see both of them and the water. Later, she walked over to where I was and asked if I wanted help setting up my tent. After I had made dinner and cleaned up, I went to see Susan and Matt and asked if they wished to have visitors. "Always," Susan smiled back. The following day they decided to end their trip early as Matt had been throwing up for days and needed to visit urgent care. Susan told me how she wished to stay so we could hike together. After arriving at Loft Mountain, I went to the camp store, where I found ice cream, orange juice, and a ham and cheese sandwich. Many other backpackers sat in the foyer, charging their devices and eating. I saw a younger couple who smiled at me and went into the shower area. When they came out of the bathrooms, I asked if the campground was full. "Not at all," the woman replied. I wondered how much the camp fee was and was told a $30 fee for the night. I thanked them, and they walked to their car. I watched as the woman walked back over to me. "Hey, we are leaving a day early. Would you want our site for the night? It's already paid for." Excellent. I thanked them again, and she told me they would need to grab the site ticket still tacked on the mantle by their campsite. When they returned with it, I offered them some money, but they refused to take it. Such kind humans, you cross paths with on the AT. Loft Mountain It stormed that night. With high winds in a lightning storm, the rainfly draped over my tent was not doing the job, and the tent started to leak water. I got out, pulled the ground tarp out from under the tent, and placed that over the tent. The ground tarp method proved helpful, but I awoke in a pool of rainwater and was sick. My throat ached terribly. I spent the day at the camp store, deciding what to do next. While sitting there, an older man started talking to me, and I learned the art of hiking slowly and enjoying the views. He started telling me about people who visit eight national parks in two weeks, "Well, what did you see?" I saw a family of thru-hikers, a mom, a dad, and four kids aged 7-13. Their shirts read, "We run this." The children were all in great spirits too. I decided to get another campsite for the night, and while walking to find my lot, a woman waved at me. She looked friendly, I probably looked confused, and she graciously offered to walk me down to my numbered site. The woman, Judy, told me that if she were my age, she would be hiking this too.
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