The End of an Era

myrtle beach

Wow – look at those wicked tan lines! On the beach in Myrtle Beach for a little R&R and most importantly, for a little sun to even us out.

Yesterday was a monumental day for Optimist and me in our trail history together. We took a zero day. A zero is when no miles are hiked and no further progress is made on the trail. This was the first zero day we have ever taken including both the 109 days we spent on the PCT and up through the first 69 days here on the AT.

Thankfully, it’s not because we quit the trail that we took a zero day. We are currently in Myrtle Beach, SC on a family vacation with Optimist’s family. We originally weren’t going to come, for fear of breaking the streak of no zeros, but when I pictured the entire family on the beach or in the pool, and us just walking on the trail, sweating it out with the dirt and bugs, there was no question if we were going.

So while I was walking through a thunderstorm just 48 hours ago, yesterday I spent 16 hours in a car with Optimist, driving down from VT to SC, and today I passed the time sleeping, eating and swimming in the ocean. A 16 hour car ride might not sound that fun, but since it didn’t involve walking and I could just snack away while I watched the miles and towns pass by, it was a fabulous start to the vacation. It was also wonderful today to let the salty ocean heal all the cuts, rashes and chaffage that has built up on my legs, hips, back and shoulders.

We will be living the vacation life for a week before returning to the trail, and have about 540 miles left to walk, including the rest of VT, NH and ME. I’m not exactly thrilled to be left with what’s rumored to be the hardest sections of the trail, but since the sections are also rumored to be the most scenic, I’m looking forward to a change from the green tunnel that has been the last few weeks’ view. I imagine those first few days back will be a shock to the system after relaxing my body and mind for a week, but with only two whole states to go, I know I’m in it until the end.

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