Anything But Solo

Day 93 – June 19, 2017

As of today, in 3 months, I’ve covered 1,240 miles. Ever since the halfway point, and even before, I’ve received lots of praise from friends, families, and strangers on my accomplishment of making it this far.

About a week ago, I listened to a recording Kyle, my boyfriend, added to a playlist – it was his ASP Staff Share (The staff on Appalachia Service Project share how God came into their life, changed it, or taught them an important lesson. They last approximately 5 minutes and are spoken to youth volunteers.). His staff share centered around pride. I’ve heard it before, but this time the message hit home – I was accepting all praise for the trip as if it was truly a “solo” expedition.

“Solo” is extremely far from reality. Yes, it has been my own two feet that have carried my body and my pack this far. On the surface, that’s all it is, but hidden in each step is the support of many.

First, and foremost, I have been extremely fortunate to stay injury-free. Just walking for a mile in the rocks in PA will demonstrate that there’s a million and one opportunities to trip, fall, twist an ankle, or get busted up. I praise God for keeping me as safe and healthy as possible. Behind his watchful eye is the abundance of prayers that have blanketed me this far on my journey.IMG_9055

My mom deserves her own mention. She supported me in every single way possible. She has prayed for me. She (and my dad), drove me down to Springer Mountain, she visited when I was sick, she backpacked a whole week with me (covering 80 miles – Wow!), and she shuttled when my whole family visited. Aside from visiting, she is my logistics resupply coordinator at home. For food (and other items I need on the trail), she sends packages to prearranged outfitters or post offices along the trail every few days. I had the first 10 boxes prepacked, but now she builds them with food I left at home, newly bought food, and meals she dehydrates and vacuum-seals. It’s not an easy task (and I’m not the easiest at times to communicate with), but she continues to do it with a smile. She’s the main reason I have access to food that I like, including home-cooked meals (a rarity on the trail). She’s a SuperMom!

Kyle also deserves a special shout out as well. He is understanding when I go days with limited service. When I have a bad day (and have services), he’s the first one I call. Being away on the trail could be straining for us, but he still supports me through it all.

IMG_9099My morale on the trail is generally high due to simply living on the beauty of nature, but it is not always easy to remain positive. I have many trail friends, friends visiting the trail, and trail angels to thank for brightening my day, cracking a joke, or laughing through the misery of the rain, wind, snow, cold, and heat. I couldn’t do these miles without the on-trail support.

Just as important as the on-trail support, is the off-trail support. Knowing I have a huge team cheering for me back home (whatever home is for you), has lifted my spirits and kept me going. It’s brought a smile to my face and made the miles easier. I couldn’t do it without your praise and prayers.

I certainly couldn’t of made it this far on my own. The Lord, my mom, Kyle, and friends have kept me safe, empowered me, and supported me in each step I take, and that I’ll continue to take to Maine.



3 thoughts on “Anything But Solo

  1. Tess, Thanks for continuing to share the wisdom you receive from your journey. “Wisdom , like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. Wisdom is a shelter, it preserves those who have it.” Ecclesiastes 7:11-12
    Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks! Tell Kyle what you’re craving and I’ll make it for you! Love, Mrs. P

  2. Tess, greetings from Oxford! I just realized I can leave a comment (sorry I’m so challenged by technology). You are such an inspiration and I so look forward to your updates as you journey along the Appalachian trail. Keep up the great job!!!!

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