Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chapter 142: Atonement

As we reach the end of our journeys, and thus our narratives, it is only natural for us to reflect. On all we've seen, and on all we've done. The pain we've felt. The exhilaration. The friendships made, and broken. The iron bonds of fellowship forged in toil, tragedy, and triumph, that no amount of time or space could ever tear asunder. The people we've hurt along the way. The good times we've had. The bad. The times it rained. The days when when we just wanted to stay cocooned inside our sleeping bags forever, listening to the raindrops fall, and the world pass us by. Those few joyous occasions when we could celebrate a reunion with long-lost friends, then congregate around a camp fire swapping stories, watching the sun set, and uniting in shared admiration of a giant bag of M&Ms...

Speaking of pain, I now consider myself extraordinarily lucky that—in the entire course of my travels—I never suffered a serious injury. Don't get me wrong, shin splints are plenty painful, as are burst blisters, and that weird problem I was having with my right (or was it left?) Achilles tendon that, well... But that's besides the point. I was lucky. Period. Nothing ever happened to seriously threaten my hike. Miller Time fell and broke his leg coming down off of The Priest in Virginia. Cotton brazenly wore blue jeans in the Smoky Mountains and froze to death. Robo-Vader and Runny Bottoms caught giardia, twice. Alphabet got homesick. Veggie got an infected spider bite. That southbounder in Gorham had an infected spider bite. Heck, sometime after leaving Stratton, a spider had bitten me. It never got infected, though.

Anyway, and with all of that in mind—and I do mean all—here is my registry entry from the Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to:
August 18,
Everything is fun and games until you "accidentally" steal some day hiker's/trail maintainer's food, fall on your ass, and then knock over someone's dinner.

I have a lot of things to be sorry for, and no better time than now to atone.

I'm sorry to that day hiker in the Shenandoah's whose food I stole. Rest assured your Camelback® Electrolyte™ Drink Mix© and Carnation Instant Breakfast did not go to waste.

I'm sorry to whomever I stole those candy bars from yesterday. I hope the 0.4 mile walk back to the parking lot wasn't too your day wasn't ruined.

I'm sorry to my sister, for making her hike around 18 miles a day through Maine.

I'm sorry to all the people I've written mean things about in registers. I'm sorry to Fredo, for not loving him the way he wants to be loved. I'm sorry to Freeman and Strider, for leaving you behind. I'm sorry to all my other trail friends who have already finished, that I couldn't be there for your summit days. I'm sorry to my friends, my family, and especially Megan for disappearing for 5 months to go on this crazy adventure.

I'm especially sorry to that spider, for taking a shit so near you that you felt compelled to bite me in the ass. It hurts, and I have yet to develop super powers.

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