|Renee and I giving a talk for the Georgia Trail Dames.|
Preparing for the talk, I got to reflect about my last five years here in Georgia. How lonely I felt moving to Georgia, not knowing anyone here, and feeling like I was in a foreign land. The uncertainty I felt going on my first backpacking trip in 2009. The warmth and friendships I found through hiking and sharing meals in the evening in camp. The joy after my first solo backpacking trip in 2010. The confidence I summoned leading my first hikes. How excited I was when I hiked my first 20 mile day in 2011. I could go on, but suffice to say that I feel like I am not the same person that I was back when I started this process. And I am grateful for the women who have been part of this journey.
Hearing all the support for our PCT hike makes me feel like this journey is so much bigger than just me. That I’m going out there to the PCT not only as an individual, but also as someone who got her start backpacking here in this community, and who grew so much through involvement and friendships that formed from the Dames.
|Kellye, Salt, Sassafras, Still Waters, me and Melissa in 2011.|