Healing In Nature
THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL: A PATHWAY TO RECOVERY FROM SEXUAL VIOLENCE
The Sunday after that previous Friday, I was transported back to the AT. Interacting with other hikers was a critical focus of my autoethnography. Knowing that I wanted to be hiking the AT where I would have the opportunity to do so, I decided to jump ahead thirty miles and stay at Big Meadows Lodge, right off Skyline drive and the AT. The following day, I resupplied food at the store and got back on the trail. I hiked ten miles to Skyland Lodge, where I received a hiker cabin, discounted to AT hikers. It felt nice to take a cold/hot shower at the night's end. There was something about hiking when being sick. It truly is amazing how much the human body can endure as long as the mindset is right. The next day I planned to hike ten miles to Pass Mountain Hut, a shelter. On the way, I kept overlapping with two female thru-hikers, and I was taking a break at a lookout spot when they came up to me. I moved to the side so they could also see the view. They told me about a shelter four miles ahead where they stopped for the night. On the way there, I came across an intersection, a side trail leading to Mary's Rock. I decided to take a detour. I saw the two women sitting ahead with their packs, and they told me Mary's Rock was worth the miles, and they had just left their backpacks at the trailhead. As a solo hiker, I felt more comfortable always keeping my pack with me, so I kept my backpack on and headed to the top; Mary's Rock was worth the miles. I saw the two women and three other young men at the shelter. They asked if I was looking for a tent place and pointed me in the right direction. I thanked them and went right to the water. Springs were always gold on the AT. Across the spring, I wandered into the woods and found empty grass spots to pitch a tent. I cooked dinner and relaxed. Another hiker was lying in his hammock. He asked what was for dinner. "Spaghetti," I said, and he told me he had freeze style lasagna earlier. I chimed in that, "Pasta is always a good move." He agreed. That was all the conversation exchanged, and we returned to enjoying each other's silence. Less than an hour later, another hiker walked towards us, examining the real estate available. He then asked if I would be okay if he set up a tent next to me, and I said he was welcome to camp next to me. He said he would check the other sites, and if not, he would be back. He came back and set up camp and then told me he was going to make dinner at the shelter, and if he didn't see me again, to have a good night, and he was sure he would see me in the morning. I noticed Alex did not put a rainfly over his tent, and when I asked why he explained he would get up quickly and put it on if he needed to but enjoyed the fresh air as he slept. When I woke, the man in the hammock was gone. It was around eight o'clock. I went to the privy, and when I asked why he explained he would get up quickly and put it on if he needed to but enjoyed the fresh air as he slept. When I woke, the man in the hammock was gone. It was around eight o'clock. I went to the privy, and I passed by the shelter on the way back. The women from the night before had their packs mounted on their backs and looked ready to go for the day. I went back to pack up camp.
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