Nantahala Outdoor Center
It's morning, and everything is wet. I don't want to get out of my tent. I just want to stay here wrapped in a semi-dry sleeping bag in all my semi-dry camp clothes. I don't want to put on cold, wet socks and cold, wet shoes.
But despite the unpleasantness and its immediacy, I am okay. I am happy to be here. If you gave me the choice between being filthy and wet and cold out here, or clean and dry and warm in the "real" world, I would rather be here.
Eventually, I force myself out into the drizzle and hike to the Nantahala Outdoor Center. I stay overnight in the bunkhouse to escape the bad weather. I eat dinner with Etienne and Sunrise, the Japanese hiker I met on my very first night on trail. Sunrise hikes consistent fifteen mile days with a huge external frame pack. At dinner, he pulls out his phone and shows us his itinerary for his hike, every day's destination prescribed from Springer to Katahdin. It's so different from how I'm hiking, but I understand his desire to plan every detail. His English is minimal, and from negotiating life in Morocco I know how challenging it can be to adapt on the go in a foreign language and a foreign country. I love seeing how many different people are out here, hiking in so many different ways.