I never expected to write a post like this, but if I have learned anything about this trail over the past couple of months, it is that life and the trail very rarely take you where you expected. Today was one of our worst days on the trail, falling in line with the previous three. Our move up to New England and the Massachusetts/Vermont border came with a lot of unexpected challenges. Among those, heavy rain, trails made out of shin deep mud, consistently wet feet, and a seemingly biblical plague of black flies. We haven’t been able to make as many miles as we could down south. Previously, we have been able to make 15 miles with out any major issue consistently. At this point, we have been struggling to make 9. 

   The stress got to us today, we argued about the fate of our hike. Some of us took the position we needed to go home, rest, and possibly stay. Others staunchly advocated staying on trail, continuing to hike, and seeing what comes. Four days with little sleep due to shelters filled with black flies, the stress of the environment, and instense frustration concerning it all overwhelmed us, and led us to engage in a rather vicious verbal fist fight. 

   This stuff happens. We aren’t pretending to be anything other than who we are out here. This trail isn’t about frolicking through fields of wildflowers, it’s about growing as people and as a family. Today, oddly, gave me a lot of hope for our future. There was a time when the type of argument we had this afternoon would last for days, even weeks. We screwed up today, but we made it right, and we are stepping out of here tomorrow on good terms, with pride in what we have accomplished so far and hope for what is coming our way. 

   I couldn’t care less if we finished this trail right now. Our goal never lived here in the physical, but rather the emotional and spiritual. The anger and frustration of today is just another step towards the ultimate goal of being the happiest, healthiest, most kind, compassionate, and driven versions of ourselves. The miles we may or may not make in our future have little to no bearing over that goal, but the way we treat each other in the hard times does. 

   So here we are, on the brink of another day, more miles to our front, but with something far more important on our horizon. Happy trails. 

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