Came across a library and decided to take a break since my hamstring is killing me, and I need a charge on my ipod lol.
When I got back to the hotel yesterday after the library (left my pack there), I found out the owner was a major packer when he was younger. He walked all over the Hawaiian islands and lived off the land. He showed me some cool walking sticks he had. One was a custom-made aluminum one. Another one was from a cedar tree from Hurricane Dennis (lightning strike). I talked to him for about 30 minutes. Awesome guy. Just a coincidence he was a packer? Nope lol.
A few people told me about Hot Springs, which I should hit on Friday afternoon (last NC town on the map...crazy). The Appalachian Trail goes through it, so they are used to packers and generally treat them very nicely. There is also a big hippie population there. (I was told to let some hippies take me home for the night, because they might let me use one of the hot springs hot tubs for free lol. I could use it.)
My toes are bleeding and oozing gunk for some reason (someone asked how my body was holding up). I think they are cramped up because my shoes are so worn out. (The hotel owner got onto me for not having a proper hat, shoes, or walking stick.) I have some heavy damage on my soles that keeps building up layer upon layer, and it is creeping between my toes. This morning I could barely walk between my toes being so sore, and my left hamstring being a very tight knot. Goody's back and body pain knocked all the pain out in about 10 minutes.
I was telling my mom that I could barely recognize myself in the mirror at the hotel. Not used to mirrors anymore, and after shaving off my NHL-playoff beard, I just looked funny. My chipmunk cheeks are gone. They are now very taut, and my eyes are big like a muppet. I have lost a lot of weight...some fat, but a lot of muscle mass too. I was always very thick around my shoulders and upper back, and now a lot is gone. So I need to think about taking in more protein, rather than just concentrating on carbs. Thighs are leaner. Chest is leaner, and you can see all of my ribs, which just looks weird on me. Overall, I feel fine. Obviously I have a lot of aches and pains, and the feet are a problem. Shoulders are scabs where the pack straps go. But I'm ok.
Mentally I am in a far different place. I can already tell the difference in the way I think and the way I look at things. Things can concern me, but fears went out the window weeks ago. Shyness is pretty much gone. I've always been quick to laugh, and I am even more quicker now. I laugh at myself a lot. I wave to almost everybody that goes by me. I get more horn honks now.
The police have finally taken an interest in me. For about the first 5 or 6 weeks, not a single officer pulled over to talk to me. And now, when I am in packer country, they all want to check me out. I just give them my id as soon as they pull over now. They have all been friendly.
I want to thank my family, especially my mom, for giving me so much support. I don't think my mom understands what I am trying to do and what I am looking for, but she is talking to people about it and trying to understand my thinking, and I think she is getting closer. And she is spreading the word about the blog (biggest day was over 90 hits!) through church and facebook and whatnot. I love you mom!!