Mile 514.5: Dear Mom

I made it to 500 miles! Almost a quarter of this crazy adventure is already behind me and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience so far.

So much has already happened and I wish you could see how happy I am out here, living like a bum, without showering and eating like every meal is my last one.

I slept in a laundry room last night. It was so tiny and we could barely fit in there. Can you imagine five smelly hikers all cramped up in a small room sleeping next to washing machines and dryers?

But that’s part of the experience too. Honestly, I can’t really complain about anything. I mean, the rain sucks, my knees hurt sometimes and I wish I could eat some of your lasagna pretty much every day, but everything becomes superfluous when I look around me and see the rocky peaks I just climbed.

Damn mom, Virginia is no joke! We keep going up and down, up and down, and the heat has been almost unbearable, but you didn’t raise a quitter, so I keep going no matter what, whatever it takes.

You’d also be happy to know that I made some good friend out here, so you don’t need to worry about me feeling lonely. You already know about Cruise Control, who lately has been having a lot of fun with catching snakes along the trail. Crazy guy!

Dubs, Mac and Pika joined us two. Dubs has always some jokes ready and his laugh it’s really contagious. Mac, instead, doesn’t talk much. He often sits in a corner reading his book. And then there’s Pika, who got her trail name because of her love for Pokémon.

Do you remember when I was a kid and I used to make you drive to all the newsstands around Rome just to buy a packet of Pokémon cards?

Oh mom, it seems yesterday! And look at me today, chasing dreams that you probably would’ve never imagined back then.

Well, it’s your fault too if I’m like this. You taught me to think free and create my own happiness, you raised me thinking that I’d be able to find my path without having to follow the “rules.”

You raised a rebel who prefers to get dirty in the woods rather then wearing a suit and tie. Aren’t you proud of me mom?

I know you’re probably there, in front of your computer screen, checking where I am on the map. Sometimes I feel bad about that because  I don’t want you to worry so much for me. I’m living a dream, I’m surrounded with amazing people and I’m seeing incredible landscapes every single day. But of course I know, that’s your job of being a mother and I can’t blame you for that.

I haven’t seen any dangerous animal yet, so you don’t need to be afraid about that at least. I’m still thinking about whether telling you or not if I see a bear. You know, I want you to sleep at night.

Anyway, I should probably go to sleep now. It’s 9pm and everything around me is dark. No staying up late to party on weekends out here. I don’t even know anymore the difference between weekdays and weekends anyway!

But I’ll be back in town in a few days, there’s this big festival called Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia, and I don’t want to miss it!

I’ll probably call you then, maybe before drinking a couple of beers, or six.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

The Walking Fed

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