Greetings from our first zero day in a month. It seems that we have become the proverbial tortoise in this non-race. For the last 30 days, we have walked some bit of trail; some days 20 miles, some days 3. Resting and walking, all things in moderation.
It snuck up on me, that string of days of forward progress. But it also feels like an appropriate summary of how the trip feels right now. I told myself I should take advantage of the day to write a bit more, to tell a tale from the trail. But I’m not sure what that would be. This trip hasn’t had a lot of singular moments or epic days, it feels like the story of this trail is the steady accumulation of the days and miles, paying attention to the gradual shifting of the forest with the season, the latitude, the elevation. (And of course, the gradual shifting of us as legs grow stronger, calluses tougher, minds a little quieter.)
The forest is dense with layers of green now so that it’s hard to remember the bare branches we saw back in Georgia. And all that growth is lightly contained water, which is exactly what it feels like. The air is thick with humidity, regardless of sunshine or cloud, hot or cool, day or night. A week or two ago I found myself hoping for rain, naively believing that would clear the air. But I’ve grown familiar with “a nice southern rain”, as we have come to call it, the sort where the sun is shining and there’s not a whisper of a breeze and rain is falling but there’s no discernible change in air temperature or humidity.
No high tops with grand views this section, but it was a good stretch. We got lucky and found ourselves under a roof every time the rain was torrential, walked by some bigger waterways for the first time that held real potential for swimming if our timing had been better. And we crossed from Tennessee into Virginia, where we will spend the next 500+ miles.