It took my pregnancy-compromised immune system 3 days to recover from whatever stomach bug I caught from another hiker. We were covering 18-20 miles per day, and were ready to finish ahead of schedule. Then I was knocked out of commission. A decision had to be made: We could both wait for me to heal, or Forrest could continue without me. As every Iditarod fan knows: "You win the race by the dogs you drop."
Neither one of us wanted to prolong the finish by an unknown number of days, and we all know I am not a stickler for completing each and every footstep of the AT.
I drove the windy mountain roads, getting lost and crossing the trail multiple times, checking on our lead hiker.
I learned that the first real gold rush in the US was in north Georgia. The rich gold deposits here caused a rush for land and claims, created many of the small towns, prompted the federal government to place a mint here, and led directly to the removal of the Cherokee via the more
famous "Trail of Tears."
Finding the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is no small task, and when I was well enough, I negotiated our oversized Chrysler down miles of bumpy dirt forest service roads, getting slowed by bumps, holes, curves, and covered wagon traffic.
When the car was somewhere we could reach it from the end, I put my pack back on and hiked north to find Forrest.
We summitted Springer Mountain together, which really isn't much more than a hill.
We finished the trail from Maine to Georgia in 128 days total. Forrest walked each and every of the 2189 total miles. I walked just under 2000, about 400 of those while pregnant. We saw bears, moose, salamanders, chipmunks, squirrels, mice and way too many snakes. We went through 3 pair of shoes and 2 backpacks each.
Another of God's lesser gifts, a well-done brunch, is our next goal and I'm taking the Chrysler to Atlanta in search of it.