Thursday, July 15, 2010

Harpers Ferry!!!!

I made it to Harpers Ferry!!!

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is the "psychological" halfway point on the trail. The real halfway point is still a little north of here but this is the home of ATC office and therefore kind of like the mothership for all thru hikers.

ATC stands for Appalachian Trail Conservancy and their iconic building is one that every AT hiker knows on sight.  I've been here once before, back in November 2008, when I was vacationing in Alexandria, VA.  Back then I was simply a tourist and after wandering around a bit found my way to the hiker area.  There I enjoyed looking at the photo books (full of that year's thru hikers).  But it was November, so I was there alone.

This year I was greated with somewhat of a rockstar status by the volunteers who staff the front desk.  They, themselves hikers, understand the accomplishment of making it to this point on the trail.  I was now a member of the club and belonged in the hiker area.  In fact, it's where I'm typing this now.  Ahhhh.... free computer access!  Love it!!! While sitting on the couch in the hiker area (lounge) I said to a fellow hiker, "It's cool to belong here this time" after telling the story of my 2008 visit.  He said, "we worked pretty hard to belong here. We've earned it." And he was so very right ... I have earned it and I'm super proud of that fact.  But back to my initial arrival ...

Before I could wipe the sweat from my brow I was back outside, in front of the ATC sign, having my picture taken.  It was then promptly printed and I was handed a pen and shown the template for how they wished me to add my name, trail name, start date, ect.  I took great pride in filling out this self service form.  As if I was inscribing my very own Olympic medal (are they inscribed?) or Wimbledon trophy.  It's been a long and painful process to get to this point ... yet rewarding and amazing too.  What a journey it's been to this point. What does the rest of the trail hold?  I guess there's only one way to find out...

So after I "had my picture made," as some of my Southern friends like to say, and had it added to the 2010 Thru Hiker Book I headed down to the historic town of Harpers Ferry.  I was in search of food of course.  I knew right were I wanted to go.  The diner was a place I'd been before, back in 2008.  Unlike the last time I was here the town was busy with visitors.  In November 2008 this place was almost empty. While the historic sites had remained open the majority of the shops and eateries were closed during my last visit.  If I recall correctly only one restaurant was open when I was here last ... so that's where I headed.  As luck would have it, I sat in the very same booth that I had in 2008 where I proceeded to eat another over priced, cafeteria style, cheeseburger and fries. Thing is, this time I enjoyed every bite and soaked in every tidbit of history that's tacked up on the walls.  Yes, I had arrived ... on foot.  Just the way I'd thought about over a year and a half ago.

After leaving Harpers Ferry, back in 2008, I knew that I would hike the AT ... starting in March of 2010.  There was no doubt in my mind.  I'm not sure where that specific date came from but it was simply a fact.  I knew it to be true and it would be so ... and it is.  Granted I started in April of this year but I don't think a month means much in the grand scheme of things.  I'm not sure where that intention came from but it certainly is a testiment to setting an intention and watching it manifest.  It's certainly a lesson in, "If you put your mind to it ... you can accomplish anything." 

Rolling on,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

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