Fourteen States. 2170+ miles.
I personally really like Red Robin, I have had nothing but good experiences there and I couldn't think of a better place to have a celebratory meal. When the waitress came up to our table, Dave keenly mentioned why we were there and what I had just done and the waitress obviously didn't really understand what had happened, but word got passed around the back and eventually the manager came to the table. (after I got about 4 refills on my freckled lemonade (it has too much ice). So the manager says, so I hear that you were gone for awhile, I said yep, I took a long walk for 3 months and thought a lot about Red Robin and the all you can eat steak fries.
She said we are glad to hear that and your meal is on us.
Look at that, trail magic and I'm not even on the trail anymore. Thank You!!!
So here's what I had:
5 refills of freckled lemonade
1 Bonzai veggie burger
3 baskets of steak fries
1 monster size mint brownie shake
Our table was filled with baskets and glasses and stuff everywhere.
I love Red Robin.
Being at Guppy and Kristin's house was amazing, I've already gained back almost 10 lbs., I can't say thank you enough to them for picking me up and being a part of the journey. It was so nice to have a comfortable bed to sleep in and unlimited access to the fridge.
Last night I flew into Grand Rapids, Michigan and will be staying with my friends Dave and Jen again until heading back up to Wisconsin and then back out to Washington by October.
Its an odd thing to go from the simple life of walking everyday, to being driven around in a car and having access to anything that your little heart desires. I've had to think about where my water is coming from, do I have enough food for this section, will I be warm enough tonight, does the next shelter have a privy..., but now, none of that seems to be of any concern. Water comes from the tap, I can get a pizza anytime I want, (they will even deliver it to me) if I'm cold, I just go get another layer or another blanket and there are bathrooms everywhere. Which reality is "normal" life?
In many ways the trail was my comfort zone, life seems easier out there, you walk, you eat, you sleep, there's not much drama, etc. It's when I would get into towns that all of the sudden there were tons of decisions to make, tons of people to deal with, tons of drama going on everywhere, my anxiety would go way up and I just couldn't wait to get back on the trail. Now that I don't have a trail to get back to, my goal is to remember the things that I learned out there, that life doesn't have to be complicated, that you can control how other people affect you, that every day is a new day, that I don't have to be the person that I was and that growth and repentance are a daily process.
In terms of my relationship with Cassandra, I'm not completely healed yet, its not an overnight process, but it will come. I'm thankful for the time that we have had together and I wish her the best. The bitterness and questions that I started the trail with have faded and don't seem very important anymore, I've been able to let go and not let those thoughts control me. This transition marks a new beginning and I'm excited to see where God takes me on this journey.
Reached Springer Mtn. this morning at around 10:30am and shared the summit with a few random people that were amazed to be up there as someone just finished walking from Maine.
Its an amazing feeling to be done and to know that tomorrow I don't have to get up and walk south. I got picked up from Amicolola Falls State Park by my friend Kristin and am staying with her and her husband and daughter just outside Atlanta.
I'm so thankful for this journey, I can't begin to express that enough. It was just what I needed at this time and wouldn't have traded it for anything. I feel that God has walked this trail with me and has lead me to find the peace, contentment and understanding that I needed.
As I'm here, I'll try to spend some time thinking about some of the highlights and share those, but for right now, I'm going to enjoy my pizza and chocolate milk and sleeping in a very comfortable bed tonight.
Thanks Kristin and Guppy!
Jason is just 56 miles away from Springer Mt. He is taking it slow so that he can finish on Saturday, 9-10-11. He has a ticket for a flight to Michigan on Tuesday.
He hiked with an Amish family today for a while. Fun!
Hopes to get some work with Marti and Jerry back in Snoqualmie?
Still feels really good. 35 mile days are pretty normal now.