Milemarker

June 15, 2016
Harpers Ferry, WV.

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My heart sings reaching the ATC headquarters with “Hiker John”, free to share the classic hiker photo.

I look back in the archives and find my solo photo,

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2007.

 

Back then, in October, 2007, I felt awesome having walked over half of the trail. But, I wasn’t ready to claim that I had found a hiking partner. My husband was still at home in Georgia. I believed that the world of the trail and the world of home were separate.  What a journey of inner exploration, radical forgiveness, and outward change it’s been during the time between these photos.

I now know and experience that there is one world, one of joyous prosperity that blends walking with working, partnership and fulfillment.

Today I celebrate and acknowledge the journey undertaken to unite those worlds.

My heart sings!

Trailboss

June 14, 2016
From a campsite north of Raven Rocks, VA to Econolodge in Bolivar, WV, including a short visit at Blackburn Trail Center.

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Crossing the Shenandoah River in the evening on SR 340.

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Mountain Laurel fading

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Red Toad

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Goodbye Virginia! Hello WV

This section of trail is called “The Rollercoaster” because of its quick up and down pattern. Both times I’ve walked this 13-mile stretch I have had strong judgements about that name!

The whole way, I’m grumbling these sentiments: “There’s no coasting whatsoever in the Roller Coaster! Roller coasters are one-way rides. This one has two directions! It would be more accurate to call it Stegasaurus Back Or Rust Saw! Rocks, rocks, rocks make it a diligent dance of danger. Definitely not a roller coaster!!!”

I’m glad we took the .37-mile side trip to the Blackburn Trail Center, a workcenter for the Potomas Appalachian Trail Club. My Atlanta friend, Chickenfeathers, reached it just two days ahead of us. He had sent me a message to be sure to stop in and talk with Trailboss. We obliged. Trailboss answered all our questions  about the Roller Coaster, ending my judgements.

The trail through northern Viriginia, he explained, is a result of quick thinking and bold action to secure the 1,000 ft wide corridor before roads and subdivisions swallowed up the forest in the 1980’s. The trail had been a roadwalk and the roads were getting bigger and wider then, including I-66. Thanks to the AT community, the trail has a remote feeling amidst the developed area.

There was no room for a gently winding trail, so up and down it goes! The name, Roller Coaster, came from a hiker, not the builders. Someone called it that and the name stuck.

A beautiful snack spot in the afternoon, at Buzzard Rocks,  fortified us for our afternoon walk into West Virginia and down the slope to the west side of the Shenandoah River and a comfy bed at Econolodge.

A beautiful 16-mile day!

In joy,
Regina

Read the Guidebook!

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June 13, 2016
I didn’t notice that the guidebook does say that the “lodge, kitchen, office are open from 5-9 p.m.” in the hostel where we had sent our maildrop box. Hmm. It’s noon, and we got on the trail at 6 a.m. to get here for a rest. There is food in that box to eat for rejuvenation – not available til 5?? Not a happy thought. Hmm.

What a perfect interface between Inner and Outer Journeys!! Click on “Read in browser” to see how this disappointment unfolds into a blessing even better than I had imagined!
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The tiny room at the hostel, crammed with 6 bunks, a couch, side chair, and t.v. looked clean. The one hiker already there talked non stop about his walk to another hiker who had arrived with us.

One thing that was available immediately was a bathroom with a great shower, freshly cleaned. Ahhh! Even towels!

I plugged in my phone and extra battery charger. That made two needs met. Soon, the couple managing the hostel pulled up in their grocery-laden car. All five hikers jumped in to help unpack.

To our delight, the manager said, “Come on upstairs and get your ice cream”. The Hiker Special comes with a bunk, shower, laundry, pizza, and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I had planned to pass up that special since ice cream and pizza are on my “do not eat” list. We got our box, though. Third need met!

Now, for a good meal and a quiet place to rest. The best rest spot looked to be the shady corner of one of three lawns outside. Each had a campfire ring and chairs. One had afternoon shade. I set up the tarp in the shady spot.

I was imagining a repeat of that delicious and satisfying dinner of fish and vegetables we had enjoyed in our last stop in Front Royal. Here, with no grocery store within a mile, that seemed out of reach. But look! A poster on the board says “Call Road Yachts for a ride to Purcellville” listing Food Lion. Victory! Although it seemed a little extravagant to get a shuttle into town ten miles away for a meal, I thought, “why not get the best, you know, radiantly fulfilling and all?”

Guess what Road Yachts said? I was surprised. “Oh, I don’t do shuttles until after 8 p.m.” Well, dang! That was unreasonable in my book. That dinner dream was fading fast. But, I would NOT give in to pizza and a headache!

Sleep in the shade and the privacy of my tarp was next, well, AFTER studying the guidebook to learn that there were several easy food stops in the next 70 miles. I could eat anything from our maildrop with confidence that we could get plenty of food along the way. Problem solved. Ahhh. Fourth need met.

Two hours later, I wake up with a nudge from John, saying, “Let’s go. Let’s walk on now.” I groggily focus on his words. “That guy who lit the fire right next to our tarp was talking trash in the hostel about you pitching your tent near that campfire ring. I don’t want to stay here. He’s talking up having a campfire tonight, and there are twenty hikers in there! There are two other firerings, but he picked that one, then talked about how stupid you were to put your tent there! I don’t want to be in a disrespectful situation like this.”

I love that man! He sure stands up for me. He’s right that we can choose our community. Half an hour later, we’re on the trail again, all settled up with the manager and satisfied that our basic needs for that stop had been met. Food. Charging. Shower. Some rest.

Now, here’s the surprise blessing! Two miles out, we stop near a spring to cook the special pasta from the maildrop. At the same spot are three women nursing a fire. They welcome us, and John shares some firebuilding tips. We chat during our meals, and I walk away with contact information for a prospective member for HeartSinging Walk Community!

One of those women had invited the others out for her very first walk on the AT! Her dream is to do the whole trail over 10 – 20 years. She loved my idea of having a coach and meeting others with the same dream!

I’m sure there’s a well-worded affirmation that summarizes this blessing. Something like walking away from ill-fitting circumstances and toward my truth. You can help me with that one.

I’m convinced!

And it even got better! At our camp spot for the night, a German woman asked to stay nearby. She pulls out fresh kohlrabi slices that she’s eager to share! Fifth need met – fresh veggies!

And here’s the next funny part. Next morning, who do we see ahead of us? The campfire guy!! “So, you hiked out without staying? Me too! Some other guys and I decided we would just push on!” I never know what will happen on the trail!

In joy,
Regina

If you would like to be in a community that pays attention to the ins and outs of Inner Journeys within Outer Journeys, all the while getting support for creating YOUR radiantly fulfilling walk, check out my HeartSinging Walk Community!

Town Food

June 12, 2016
I can’t eat what most hikers eat! Here’s what we bought at Food Lion in Front Royal to rejuvenate and celebrate completing our first hundred miles of this trip.

First, we did step one of our three step Don’t- Buy-Too-Much-In-Town plan: go in and buy something to eat right now and leave the store. We bought and devoured:

A banana
Two peaches
Four apricots
Two apples
23 oz. Coconut water

Then, we took step two: go in and look and talk about what to buy (actually, we skipped this step this time, and went right to step three: buy food for the town stop).

Frozen Cod
Kale
Apples
Mushroom antipasto
Carrots
Little red potatoes
Rosemary infused olive oil
Cucumbers
Frozen corn
Another 23 oz. Coconut water

We packed it all over  to the Quality Inn and got a room. Our plan was to cook the fish and potatoes in the microwave, not my specialty! It came out rubbery and melted our rehydrating bowl!

Please send ideas for preparing fish in a hotel room!

The antipasto was delightful! Oh, and the corn tasted sweet and filling, like a desert!

We had some leftovers to pack out, which worked just fine and

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gave a special treat on the trail: carrots, one cuke, three apples, kale. We also stopped at Food Lion again and bought a small tub of hummus, giving us a new rehydrating container.

Little Things

June 11, 2016
I have a list of small mishaps that we’ve been able to deal with and keep going. HeartSinging walking reflects how gracefully I can dance with the little things.

**Broken watchband. My cheap fake leather watchband  snapped.  Irritating! The good thing was that I noticed that it had fallen off. I threw away the band and stuck the watchface in my waist pouch where I can still get at it easily. Keep moving!

**Melted food bowl. Drat! My favorite lidded Glad bowl where I rehydrate my food on the trail was NOT microwave safe for repeated uses! I like this solution! We made an extra stop at Food Lion on our way out of Front Royal and bought  small bowl of hummus. The container fits perfectly inside our cooking pot, and the hummus was a fine extra snack for the afternoon. We might even switch to PLANNING it this way, getting hummus to pack out and a new bowl! Keep moving!

**Minor shoe breakdown. John’s shoe lining, a little foam piece around his heel, was bunching up and rubbing a hotspot on his heel. It’s too soon to get new shoes! He used my tiny Swiss Army knife scissors and successfully cut out the irritating fabric. Keep moving!

**Hot shirt. The air temperature rose today, into the 90’s. Whew! My long-sleeved shirt was too hot! John let me wear his spare shirt, a woven fabric button shirt with short sleeves. Better! Keep moving!

**Crowded camp. And the irritation that is just barely a “small” one occurred this evening as we were wrapping up our walk for the day. We knew the terrain and vegetation in this section would make finding dispersed camping difficult (that’s when we find a flat spot in the woods where no one else has camped before). We aimed for a shelter for tonight, planning to tent nearby. Surprise! When we reached the shelter turnoff at 6:30 p.m. there were people and tents everywhere! A Boy Scout troop of probably 25 people had taken over every tent spot AND the shelter! Grrr! We filled our water containers at the spring – and KEPT MOVING! That was the way to solve this dilemma. Keep moving! About ten minutes north of the shelter, we found a flat, rockfree spot without much poison ivy. Not bad! Ahhh! We can stop moving for the night!

Little things come up often on a long walk. But, with patience and ingenuity, they can be resolved, and we can keep moving!

In joy,
Regina

Goodbye Shenandoah

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June10, 2016
Today, we completed the final  miles of our Shenandoah walk. Earlier, we stopped for a few minutes atop Compton Peak, 2909 ft elevation. No more mountains close to 3,000 ft ’til Killington in VT! That’s where this year’s walk ends and we celebrate two traverses of the AT. About 700 miles from here in Front Royal, VA.

My personal high point was a picture of my grandson, five months old today!

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Goodbye Shenandoah!

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In joy,
Regina

Inner Journey

June 8 and 9, 2016
What a beautiful place to be while disappointed! The Skyland Lodge room we had was perfect for our night off the trail! We had mailed our first food drop there, so it was a good place to rent a room, you know, with a bed and bath and clean towels, all that good stuff!

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Really incredible view from the room, especially watching  the storm move across the Shenandoah Valley!

Dinner at the restaurant included trout, asparagus salad, and a big side order of fries! Even my gluten-free preference was accommodated.

We washed our clothes, took baths – and showers too – sorted the food in our maildrop.

These are all parts of what I call The Outer Journey.

Within and underneath, an Inner Journey was brewing! And this, my friends, is the stuff of journeying that provides the threads of a radiantly fulfilling journey – if the threads are tended and woven carefully. If not, the journey could unravel!

Read on for my latest Inner Journey story.

Scene One:The Disapointment

One of my Facebok messages contains the news that my mentor didn’t have time to take me on as a regular client. I had thought that getting her help with digital tasks that are no match for my smartphone was just a message away! I was wrong! Bam. Door shut! Let down! (Just like other times in my life – which clued me in that this was a new version of my life’s Old Story).

Scene Two: The Shutdown

So what do I do? Take action to feel powerful. I drop my membership in her coaching club. Tough, eh? That will show HER! I also stop talking with my partner, you know, because I would have to explain why I did an irrational thing (and mostly, because I might start FEELING – Noooo! I just have to feel right!)

Scene Three: Underway

In the morning, John is mystified by my behavior, thinking I was mad at him, and of course he can’t figure out why!

Meanwhile, it’s time to check out from our marvelous room and start walking. The Outer Journey must go on!

The rhythm of walking, the fresh air, and the soothing green scenery support the Inner Journey perfectly. I walk. John asks me questions.

Scene Four: Breakthrough

I parry his questions, staying on the surface. He peels the layers. No, I’m not mad at him. He misunderstood my comment about his being “just” my hiking partner. My armour is thinning. “So, what happened?” he asks.

It’s a good thing I’m walking in front so he can’t see the tears welling up and over as the story tumbles out and my real feelings of sadness come to the surface.

“That’s what this is about? I had no idea.” He stops. “Let me hug you.”

Scene Five: Shift Happens

This general flow of an Inner Journey play, from upset, resistance, giving in to telling the story, feelings my feelings has one more scene. And that’s

Scene Six: Scenic View

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Once I allow those feelings and start to see that what happened COULD be an opportunity for me to learn and grow, all sorts of ideas flow! That’s what happened today! I realized that her saying No to my original plan forced me to create a new plan.

As it often happens, the ideas I’m having now about opening HeartSinging Walk Community, my Inner Journey project for this walk, will make the project way better! I feel free and energized! My, the forest is amazing! What! We’ve walked five miles in 2 1/2 hours?!!! This Inner Journey thing really works!!

The end

Well, not really the end of the day. We walked 8 more miles in the beautiful Shanandoah Park. We met a dozen other hikers today, including a guy from San Diego who has walked a route across San Diego County from the Pacific Ocean to the Salton Sea. That’s where WE live in the winter! He enjoyed the company of other seasoned hikers.

Cooking dinner on a vista point 15 miles north of our starting point on the outside and many vibrational levels higher on the inside, I feel blessed – radiantly fulfilled even!

In joy,
Regina

P.S. Does any of this Inner Journey story sound familiar? Please share! Just hit reply and tell your story! I’ll answer you back with some tips on how to weave your own radiantly fulfilling new story.

PSS
My favorite moment yesterday was meeting this amazing tree!
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Can’t wait to hear a story from YOU!

Gollum Revealed

June 4, 2016
7 a.m. Fog. Ah! Sun breaks through and lights the tree trunks. A restful night opens to a birdsong morning.

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12 p.m. Walking feels good! The trail through Shenandoah Park is gentle, though consistently up amd down. We cross the Skyline Drive every 2 or so miles! I want to call a woman I know who wants to walk just six miles a day to say, “You could do that here, no problem. If you have a car support person to meet you at road crossings, you could do this!”

3 p.m. Well, it’s been great all day, and I see in the guidebook that water and camping limitations mean that we can stop in a couple of miles or in as many as four miles. That gives us a short, easy day or a dubious and maybe long one. THAT’S where the day’s challenge begins!

After fairly calmly discussing it while we walk another mile, John says, “OK. How about if YOU pick the campsite for tonight? Wherever you want.”

That’s when Gollum, the two-faced creature from Lord of the Rings shows up – in my mind!

“He’s so nice, Precious! He’s taking care of you, just like he said. He respects you and means what he says, that you don’t have to get tired out. This can be easy!”

The camera turns to the other Gollum, “Don’t listen to him!!! He’s tricksy, Precious! You know you have to keep going, You have to prove that you never get tired! You’ll be sorry if you stop here!!!

Bing! Crystal clarity rings! This situation has nothing to do with John. It has nothing to do with John’s stamina or comparing it to mine. It has everything to do with my own perception of myself and that inner argument, that’s just like Gollum’s two-sided one.

This time, I realize that I don’t have to blame John or hold  him responsible for creating a situation that works for me – or doesn’t work for as if often the game I play. He’s absolutely giving me the responsibility for choosing.

So, THIS time, I’m choosing to stop at 4 p.m. in a sure campsite. I’ll sit in the woods and write. Cook dinner. Listen to the afternoon thunder rumble.

Stay tuned!

I have a great spot for balancing my Nonsenses. Ah! the vibrant color!

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5:45 p.m. Thunderstorm! That rumbling blew into a downpour. Good thing that we were already set up with dinner cooked. Happy and dry, we can relax in the grand tarp and enjoy the rain.

A nice long sleep awaits!

In joy,
Regina

Completion(s)

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June 2, 2016
Today, there were two completions. One was completing our gear packing! All ready to go! That’s completing our journey from our winter season to this hiking season.
The second was completing ridgerunning. Technically, I did that last July, or maybe in January when I declared my intention to do something else. Today’s meeting with the new ridgerunner really FELT like I have moved on from that six-year phase. I am actually happy to be away from the ridgerunning issues! Creating programs, hiking, and visiting my grandson are more appealing!

I also met up with a new-old friend. I met her several years ago on my section of the AT. We just never managed to get together during any of my other seasons in the area.

Today, we did it! Michele opened my eyes – and ears – to the challenges of hearing loss, like she is e,experiencing. I sure take my hearing for granted! Listening to the sounds of Nature, and as my friend, Barbara related, not just hearing the birdsongs but deeply listening to them, has been a nourishing delight.

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I am going to bed tonight feeling ready for our walk. I’m satisfied with my email delivery setup. It looks like it will work!

In joy
Regina

Frustrated to Confident

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June 1, 2016
Today was a transition day from feeling frustrated with the technical challenge of setting up an RSS feed of my blog to my subscribers and Facebook page to feeling confident that it can actually work!  Thanks for reading!
The second accomplishment of the day was to pack our backpacks! I’m happy to say that my pack, with a liter of water and 4 days of food weighs  in at 20 -22 lbs.

Now, before you gape with too much amazement, I will remind you that one of the favorite qualities of my heartsinging walk is that I have a hiking partner who shares gear with me! That means that I don’t have to carry everything I use!!

I’ll try for a gear list:
Pack – Gregory Jade 60 with no “brain”
Sleeping bag – Western Mtneering 30 degree down bag
Thermarest prolite 3
Silnylon poncho/groundcloth
2 qt pot w lid
1 pint lidded bowl
Platypus water bladder (no hose)
1-liter Smartwater bottle
Rainjacket
Thermal shirt
Leightweight polyester Long pants
Extra socks (mitts)
Powershield jacket (insulation/rain)
Fleece hat
Sun hat
Trekking poles
30 ft cord for bearbag hanging

Waistpouch
Phone + 5 extra batteries + charger
Pocket knife (7-tool swiss army with the plastic cover missing)
3 colored pencils, 2 pens
2 small pcs watercolor paper
Small paintbrush
Toothbrush
Dental floss
15 ml peppermint oil
Credit cards, i.d., thumbdrive
Small notebook

John is carrying the shared tarp and net, sleeping bag coupler, canister stove, fuel canister.

I love my gear!

In joy,
Regina