The following is a random list of thoughts that I have about my hike.
1- It is very difficult to leave family and friends for 6-7 months.
2- I loved the experience, the people I met, the support I received and the hike itself.
3- I learned more about family and friends then I could have believed. The support I received from them was amazing and fantastic. Their concern for my safety was overwhelming, but often not well founded. Those afraid of snakes knew the snakes were going to get me. Others said it would be the bears. Did I not know what could get me if I was alone in the woods?
4- I was carrying to much weight. A couple days I probably started the morning with 45 lbs. It must be reduced to 35 lbs or lower for an old person like me.
5- I am glad I started April 1 in Damascus, VA and not March 1st at Springer Mt., GA. Cold weather is not to bad if you have the right clothing, but winter clothing adds more weight.
6- By starting in Damascus I missed the hoards departing Springer Mt. and had access to shelters if I wanted to use them.
7- The really strong hikers that left Springer Mt. around March 1st caught and passed me, but I got to spend a night or have lunch with several of them.They were really hiking machines, both physically and mentally. Advice they gave me was invaluable.
8- Of the 720 miles from Springer Mt., GA to Daleville, VA(near Roanoke) I have hiked all but approximately 15 miles over the years. In the future I will probably complete those three sections and then section hike the AT from Daleville to Maine over the coming years.
9- I will miss the unlimited eating now that my energy output has dropped dramatically.