As I (Alison) am writing this, I am taking a few days in Sylva to re -evaluate being on the trail. For the past week on the trail, I have been struggling with weakness while hiking that I believe is a combination of not getting the nutrition I need, losing weight too quickly, and not eating enough calories. For those of you who are worried about my feet they are MUCH better and now just have the usual “tired feet” at the end of the day. This has taken a toll on me emotionally because we haven’t been able to do the millage we need to do and we are hiking longer hours and going shorter distances. After talking with Renee and Reaper, I decided that the best thing I can do right now is rest. It was a very hard decision and I still struggle with some guilt over leaving Renee but right now it is what I need to do. I stayed in Gatlinburg while Renee and Reaper headed back to the trail. Luckily, a wonderful couple, Kim and Dicky (friends of Gayle whom we zeroed with in Sylva), have said I can crash here for a few days. At the moment I am not planning on going back to the trail. What I would like to do in the next couple weeks is rent a car and follow Renee and Reaper as they hike and support them in any way I can. I have bought a plane ticket home in May and then I am tentitively planning on driving back out here with my car and supporting Renee as she finishes this hike. I went into this wanting to challenge myself and told myself I would be proud of whatever amount of the trail I accomplished. While I am a person that likes to complete what I start, I don’t feel like I need to complete it all at once. Don’t be suprised if you find me out on the AT section hiking in the future. 200 miles done, 1, 984 to go!
Renee is planning on continuing to hike and it makes me feel better knowing that Reaper will watch out for her and vise versa. There are also lots of thru-hikers traveling the same pace that will watch out for them.
Currently, I am have a peace about my decision and I am excited to be a personal “trail angel” to Renee as she finishes this journey. Thank you to all of you for your prayers and support. I couldn’t have made it this far without all of you. Please continue to pray for Renee as she continues.