One heck of a journey...

I said I was going to blog about hiking the Appalachian Trail.. 

and that didn't happen... On trail.. 

Right now isn't the best time to talk about it either, because of this gosh darn post thru hike depression.. But I'm going to someday. I'm going to be able to tell you that it was the absolute best decision I've ever made, that my sister and I bonded through trials and triumphs, and a lot of mountainside arguments..... Haha.. :) and that I left the trail completely transformed. I wasn't Susan anymore, I was Flower Child.. 

"Our hike" as we like to call it ended in Pawling New York. From there we took a detour to meet up with Abi (Wild Child) and Carl (Man Child) in Pennsylvania. And then we hiked to Harpers Ferry West Virginia where Abi and I headed home, and Carl and Rebecca continued the trek. 

Our hike from Mt. Katahdin to a little sandwich deli near Pawling New York... The emotions, and experiences were intense. I fractured my foot and continued hiking, we faced out fears and insecurities and continued hiking.. Rain? Cold? Hunger? Physical pain? Mental exhaustion? We kept at it.. I should write about the first month.. Because the emotional storm was crazy. How many times did we decide the next town we were heading home? Officially. Definitely. No question.. Than it shifted to sometimes missing family, or conveniences.. But hiking was life. I remember sometimes needing a little encouragement to keep going, and all I had to do was look up the trail and wonder... "What's ahead of that hill? Or turn? What's just over there past what I can see? and like a child I'd want to find out. 

I fractured my foot within the first month of hiking and continued hiking for 3 months... The pain, and mental torture.. Waaaaaaah..  I think there might be a tie to 6 months of post thru hike depression and my bullheaded stubbornness.. X) That's a journey in and of itself.. I want to share my memories of living on the Appalachian Trail.. Spending most nights hanging in a hammock, most days in the wilderness, climbing mountains, and falling in love with breathtaking views.. Maybe that'll get me through the hiker depression too. 

and don't think that's my last thru hike attempt.. I'm pretty sure I'll be out there again.. :) 


You've got this...

Take photos I took during my 6 month hike on the Appalachian Trail... scribble encouraging reminders on them... I made this.


Flower Child's Grand Adventure - Chapter 1

I could have made other summer plans you know... Like, hmm, oh gosh....... No, I couldn't. Just imagine long, breathtaking days out in the beautiful, fragrant, green wilderness, testing your physical and emotional limits, meeting all kinds of fascinating people, and being part of an insane group that decides they're going to attempt something crazy, and on a personal level terrifying!! Just for the fun of it.. and maybe because life is starting to feel unbearable. 

For someone who has not been an outdoors person I figured I'd better prepare for this adventure of a lifetime!! So December 15th I started walking 3 miles every single day.... and keep the world up to date by posting selfies on Instagram... (@susanlyna) I'll probably be laughing (hysterically) on the AT.. 3 miles a day... but you know what? Just that changed me. This is where my infatuation with a romantic idea, turned to love for the great, wonderful, awe-inspiring outdoors, and that glorious feeling of pushing my limits just a little bit farther. 

Day 1 Appalachian Trail Training December 15th

106 days of selfies! :P I don't know is this normal? but I'm feeling the whole experience... Lots of bitter cold, sore muscles, and determination.. The highs and lows of every one of those days.. It's exhausting!! :P I continued training all through April, and now just a couple weeks from the trip.. I'm taking it a little easier.. because I can't handle an ounce more of anything that might stress me. heheh.... planning to climb a mountain (and 2000+ miles) and can't handle another ounce of stress?  To be specific; I can't handle an ounce of unnecessary stress. Actually let's just hope that.. ;)

Day 106 Appalachian Trail Training March 31st

What am I getting myself into? I've never been away from the family longer than a month. I've done very little camping, and haven't had to go long without the convenience of a shower, washing machine, comfortable bed, wifi... Oh, oh yeah, and flushing toilets, or just an actual seat you know... Then let's add the prospects of ticks, lightening storms, black bears, hyperthermia.. What else can be added to the list? 

5+ months of this!!

Can someone love green any more than I do right now?? and sunshine!! The outdoors in the winter, though magnificent in it's own way, is brutal.. It's like deciding each day to go out and face a bigger, stronger opponent. Knowing he's bigger and stronger and it's going to hurt...  *sobs* Maybe I'm just reliving the past 6 months..... and I'm facing a couple new menacing monsters.. Like a 53 hour bus trip.. and oh yeah.. Hiking 2189 miles, and the lack of showers.. 

Wasn't this supposed to be a cheerful, happy, pro-hiking blog post??? 


Day something or other... Slacking off on Appalachian Trail Training May 7th 2015... ;)

What am I looking forward too?

Ok let's just calm the freak out for two seconds and try to express this idea.. 

There's the romantic story of why I'm going... Last summer finding true love.. yes that's right, it was me! (but of course, I'm a feminist.) or you can call her Flower Child... Seriously waking up like Sleeping Beauty, well actually living my own fairy tale.. Waking up and realizing.... Woah!! I just about missed the boat! I need to take control and start living! So the ugly sorcerers Shame, Fear, and Doubt.. Just about had me in their grasp, and I would have been tortured by a miserably mediocre existence. A despicable and excruciating curse, but not this time. No way. The day I faced them was the day I ensured freedom from that menacing power, yes I'll be battling for life, but with these amazing super powers, they'll never win, and it'll become something I look forward to battling. (please, please, please... I beg of you! *continued sobbing* lol.. :P) "Flower Child, quit groveling.." "Ok fine. I'll quit." Yeah.. So I've learned you have to take lots of deep breaths, think positive, and just put one foot in front of the other.. for 2189 miles.. *sobbing continued* 

and that's why I'm hiking the Appalachian Trail.. :)

Disclaimer: No tears were actually shed in the making of this post.. Just a lot of sick butterflies, mild hyperventilation, and feeling like finding a cave out in the wilderness and never meeting civilization ever again. 


Susan's 10 Reasons To Avoid Hostels

Not only do you share bathrooms with complete strangers you're going to *gasp* share rooms!! 

2) Talking to Strangers
When you're sitting down in the common spaces... (Everywhere) you can only avoid eye contact for so long, and you might even get tricked into conversations with strangers... It starts out rather innocent... "So where you from?" 

3) Sharing
Yep that's right... The maple syrup, couch, kitchen, shower... No locking the door and having it all to yourself! (Well the shower, but don't be a hog.)

Teahorse Hostel, Harpers Ferry, WV
4) Messes
Got to clean up after yourself... "Hey Susi wash your dishes!" "Fine Mom... I mean hostel rules.." Just like home... First World Probs... :/

5) No Pool, No TV, No Bedside Bibles...
Instead you'll find yourself playing scrabble, or ordering pizza, talking to strangers... Touristing the town... 

6) Curfew
Well kinda, and no snoring! Please...

Teahorse Hostel, Harpers Ferry, WV
7) Safety 
You're responsible for yourself, electronics, valuables... Instead of keeping things behind locked doors, you'll have to trust your instincts and act accordingly. All on your shoulders. That's intimidating.

8) Empty Chairs and Empty Tables... 
Your friends, I mean strangers, they'll be just a memory... and life will go on... It'll feel depressing... 

9) Why?
To be or not to be? Philosphical ponderings.. Questioning your life purpose and realizing the giant flaws you've now discovered means there could be others you're blinded to... 

Teahorse Hostel, Harpers Ferry, WV
10) There is no going back
Spending five days with no privacy, talking to strangers, sharing maple syrup.... It was a slow but steady transition from having the world all neatly organized and predictable, to a wild and wonderful world of possibilities. 

So maybe just go to a hotel... lock that door and watch the news. You'll be safe there. ;)