(Icicle) 1, 000 miles

We are home! We have been for exactly two weeks now and are so happy without one regret. In our last blog post, you saw we were figuring out what our next steps were and what our motivations might be if we were to stay on the trail. We arrived at a conclusion our gut had been telling us for days already. Here’s how we arrived at this conclusion.

We entered the Shenandoahs, one of the last sections of the very long state of Virginia. About 1/4 th of the 2,185.3 mile trail travels through the gorgeous state of Virginia. We had heard the Shenandoahs were flat and beautiful. Having just come off of a week of 80-90 degree days where there was a 4 or 5 mile ascent and descent almost every day, we were relieved to hear this. We were also told there would be no more climbs like this until vermont. Basically, we had finally passed the south and the mountains that came with it.

The weather was PERFECT, the terrain was just as beautiful and flattish as everyone said. But…we weren’t enjoying it. This was confusing to us. Everything was as perfect as it could be in the mountains. Why weren’t we happy? We had encountered low points before, but usually snapped out of it. A few days into the Shenandoahs and we could barely make ourselves walk 8 miles. So we decided to enact plans to test how we were truly feeling. We’ve had great mentors on and off the trail. I joined a women’s group called “Wild and White Blazing” and had heard from veterans of the trail what to do when feeling this way.

So, our first step was to get a ride into town and hole up for however many days we needed. We stayed at a Budget Inn in Luray, VA…for three nights. We ate tons of food, slept a ridiculous amount,  and watched movies on our tab. We were clearly exhausted. Usually, after just one night off the trail, we were anxious to get back. After three nights, we were ready to test out how our break affected our perception of the trail. But we weren’t yet excited to get back out there.  We felt conflicted. 

We head out of town and manage 5 miles. The next day we manage 3 miles. We struggle to even leave the shelter.  It’s perfect weather. The other thing I had learned was to never quit on a bad day. Its 72 degrees, the sky is clear and that beautiful baby blue color you find in spring. There’s even a bench on the top of the hill we climbed! We sit down on the bench and look at each other. We see the misery reflected in each others faces. We are both bored and uninterested in the perfection that surrounds us.

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“I know. Me too.”

We both smile and call Quailman’s parents who also live in Connecticut.

We make it to Harpers Ferry and enjoy the historically rich town at a luxurious b&b. We stay an extra night to sit on our decision after doing our half way photos at the ATC headquarters.  The next day, we sit waiting for the train. I can feel that this is one of those decisions that genuinely alters your path and we feel good at the new path we are about to embark on. Hours later, as our train crosses the Connecticut border, we are giddy with the childlike enthusiasm of returning home and know we made the right decision.

We have been relaxing and slowly re-entering society.  We spent a couple of weeks going for runs, eating homemade food, and taking lots of showers. Quailman is officially enrolled in nursing school and we just put down a deposit in our new apartment. We are loving being home and are so excited to settle down. The trail has taught us so much as you’ve read in our previous blog posts. 

We are going to hike in CT and MA for one more week with our mutual friend Bryan and my brother. We are looking forward to sharing part of our adventure with them!

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Categories: Uncategorized | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “(Icicle) 1, 000 miles

  1. whats to say just glad u r home safe and sound and congrats to eric !!!!!eric and lauren can be partners …….looking forward to seeing u here
    love u

  2. johar923

    Good blog post. Each of us has a different journey, none will be the same. I have a feeling yours isn’t over quite yet.

    • Thanks! We feel that too 🙂 we are pretty sure we will be section hiking the rest of the trail over our lifetime.

  3. Gary Frechette

    Kristin & Eric,

    There are loads of people who would love to experience what you have just experienced. I’m sure you count yourself fortunate to have accomplished what you did. And as Joe Cross would say, “Good on you”.

    I’ll continue to follow your progress which ever trail you take, and should the opportunity present itself, my wife and I would love to sit with you and talk about your trail experiences.

    BTW, my 2 girls and their family decided that for Father’s Day we would all hike the AT from Rt.2 in Gorham to the top of Mt Moriah – 12 miles round trip. Hope we can do it, but at least we’ll have fun trying.

    My best to you and Eric,

    Gary F.

  4. I’ve enjoyed following along with your adventure. I hope you continue to share.

  5. Shelley

    What you both have accomplished is nothing less than amazing, I’m sure this experience will make you stronger not only physically but in your life together, you have already seen good and bad, god bless both of you and congratulations! It’s been fun watching your adventure, and now another chapter, congrats on nursing school Eric, no doubt you will be a wonderful Nurse. So enjoy, relax, and stay intouch. Love you Aunt Shelley and Uncle Rick

    • Hi Aunt Shelly! Thank you for the kind words and the congrats! I’m super excited about nursing school and Kristin is excited to go back to teaching too. We do feel like much stronger people in many ways, and we have this journey to thank for that. I hope you and Uncle Rick are doing well!

  6. 😦 I was like only 50-60 miles behind you guys. It is sad to see you guys go and even sadder to not have had the opportunity to meet u in person. I was following ur blog and hiking behind and in a way you have become Trailebrities to me haha. Totally made up that word but it should be AT official if I had my way. Well guys, best wishes and take care. Ill post up a new blog tomorrow in Hampton PA.
    Spider-Man

    • I’m sad we missed you! We plan on doing the rest over our lifetime, so who knows. We just might run into you if you plan on revisiting the trail. Good luck Spider-Man!

  7. I missed this when you first posted it. I’m glad that your hike ended on your terms…I think that’s some common ground I share with you two. I hope we get the chance to meet for real at some point. In the meantime, here’s to the next adventure!

    • It sounds like we had very similar emotions towards the end of our hike, we are doing a 4 day section now (after 3 weeks of rest and decompression) with my brother and friend and it is SO MUCH BETTER. You can stop to smell the roses with no pressure. Maybe we will see each other out here sometime!

  8. Congrats on finishing a long, successful AT hike! I’m glad I met you on the trail (Damascus, VA) when our paths crossed. Good luck in you future.

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