We received a lengthy update from Terra Nova last night. He’s had highs and lows over the past day and a half.
Sunday his plan was to hike to the top of the ridge at Wind Gap and camp. That was a short day and a hike of a mile and a half, but his strategy was to pace himself and do the 16 miles over two and a half days. However, the climb wasn’t the problem. “I had serious doubts yesterday and by the time I went to bed I was seriously thinking what the hell am I doing out here, but I know those feelings have come and gone before in the past.”
I could tell Terra Nova was thinking about this as I helped him in Wind Gap. “I could be at home in air conditioning watching Dora the Explorer with my daughter” he told me a couple of times. I told him repeatedly if he wanted me to drive him home, I’d still think he was both a tough hiker and a good friend. He had nothing to prove by hiking the AT. Its not proving something that should drive him, its a spirit of adventure and fun.
Monday the weather was “beautiful” and Terra Nova slept in, getting up at 10 AM. He hiked to 4:30, covering eight rocky miles and taking about six breaks. The day was rocks and rocks, but “I spooked four doe deer about 11 AM.” The goal isn’t to get big miles in right away, but to build up to them and get his feet back in condition. According to my AT trail book, his position should be around Fox Gap, which is about halfway to the Delaware River. What follows is a gradual and rocky downhill to the highway bridge over the river and into New Jersey, then a climb back up the ridge.
My friend is feeling strong. “My goal is to go to bed early and be up at 4 AM so I can start hiking at 4:30 and hike for seven hours before the day really starts to warm up. I feel very motivated and confident I can make some distance on this outing, perhaps to Vermont and God willing Maine.”
I’ve passed on the comments here and on Facebook encouraging Terra Nova. The man knows you all have his back, and thanks you.