Sunday, April 3, 2011


I've been pushing hard lately and my body's starting to feel worn out.  With anything I think there are re-evaluation phases and I feel like I'm in one of those right now.  I'm homesick, I miss my girlfriend and I hurt a lot.  I hobble out of my sleeping bag every morning in the freezing cold and walk like I'm sixty years older for an hour or two after my knees loosen up a little.  The views are amazing, but amazingly all very much the same.  I'm currently in Fontana Village and it's a complete dead zone for cell service, which is most definitely what I look forward to most about being in civilization.  I'm about to head out into the Smokies tomorrow, and the terrain and weather is intimidating.  I just want the Smokies behind me.  I need to figure out if hiking the whole trail is something of utmost importance to me.  I've been out of my comfort zone for over two weeks now, and I am surviving but I'm missing everything about what my life was.

I feel like my body aches will always be there and that it will just be something I will have to deal with.  I know the terrain will ease after the Smokies and especially once I get into Virginia, so I have that to look forward to.  The weather will warm up and I can get rid of some of this weight I have to carry on my back too, which will be nice.  It will get easier.

I knew these rough patches would come, and I figured that I would have to deal with all of these things that I'm dealing with.  So at least I anticipated it.  I will be hitting the highest point on the entire Appalachian Trail in three days, Clingmans Dome, and after that, its all down hill from there, haha, right?

And even though I am struggling a bit, I'm proud of myself for being out here and putting one foot in front of the other.  Every day is an accomplishment.  I'll see yall after the Smokies probably! Love yall



  1. Hang in there buddy boy. One day at a time. And either way it's awesome. FYI I remember our family driving to Clingman's Dome when I was a kid (maybe 7-8 years old). Great mommy was with us on this trip to NC; and it was cold when we drove into the parking lot, and foggy. So she and I stayed in the car while my brother and parents walked up to the top. Wish I had gone up there -- I remember thinking that the entire time we sat in the car. And even more when my brother came back and wouldn't stop talking about it. Apparently it got better as they went up. Post some pics when you get there.

  2. I'm feeling like you're going to push through this rough patch, Michael -- with a lot of willpower, some inspirational vistas, and as much Advil as you can pump into your system! We're pulling for you, sweetie.

  3. Around mile 18 of my first marathon, I couldn't fathom my legs every feeling spry again! But, they did rebound and so will yours. The strength you are fostering now will serve you the rest of your life. My prayers go with you.

  4. Here's a quote from Brennan Manning that Joy Blaylock (colleague, and fellow Michael follower!) used in a blog today... "Hope knows that if great trials are avoided great deeds remain undone and the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted." I just like it, and it makes me think of you!

    I've had you on my mind today. Did you reach Clingman's Dome? Are you still in one piece? I love you so much, and I'm really rooting for you!

  5. You're resolve and courage is awesome man. You know what you got before you, you know so much of it sucks, but you're going for it.

    Don't worry about cell phone service, the comforts of home, and even connecting with the people back in the "real world." I promise you it's not going anywhere. I work at Taco Mac, with great food, relaxed environment, sports on TV, but there is an emptiness to it. And what it takes to fill up that emptiness within me is more rich and meaningful that anything you can find in the indulgence of home comforts, and I promise you can find it in on the trail. And in fact, I think you can find it better out there than you can here. Each beautiful scene and lookout might seem repetitive, but once your spirit awakens, each sight is a miracles to behold in itself, everytime. Remember that even the moon will always be there, but there's only a certain number of times that we will look at it in our lives.

    Don't think of this trip a thing to do. Think about it as being. You have all these miles before you, not to surpass and get by---but to just be. Be with the Earth, the trees, the rivers, the water. Be with your own pain. Embrace it and let it go. It's all a miracle, and when you can put all together and accept it as a beautiful phenomenon to life, you're going to find yourself feeling alive and happy. I promise you when you get to the end of the trail, you're going to feel an incredible feeling of gratitude, and will treasure all of these moments along the way. So do it now.

    I also encourage meditation to help center you on this trip. There is a great book out there that's totally changed my perspective on the practice; called "Mindfulness in Plain English." It's changing my life, far more than any meditation book has. See if you can find a way to pick it up somehow and read it along your journey in some down time. If you keep up the practice, I assure you that you will gradually awaken to a more open perspective that will improve your over all well being, and especially, a deeper appreciation for all that you're doing and all that surrounds you. Here's the book online, try reading a little bit and see what you think. It never fails to blow me away:

    I know I've written a novel on this comment, but I hope it can mean something for you. Hope it finds you well buddy.