10+ Things Learned from the Ultimate Hike
Taking a page from Maggie Cash's book and giving you my ten (plus) things learned from the Ultimate Hike:
- Eating breakfast at 2:20 am is never fun...even when you can make your own waffles (as a lawyer, I have to admit the assumption of the risk in handling a scalding hot waffle-iron while half asleep is a nightmare best left alone)
- Hiking in the dark makes the miles go quickly...if only because you are sensory-deprived, sleep-deprived and have a red flashing beacon on the pack in front of you to follow...much like a Krispy Kreme sign flashing 'Hot Now, ' you just. must. follow.
- Rest stop one has the best indoor bathroom and is a welcome sight...mainly because you can actually see it because the sun has finally come up
- White slashes of paint on trees are your friend...follow them, love them, revere them
- There are few mileage signs on the Foothills Trail...much appreciated as time and mileage do not need to be marked, only passed
- Aid Station Angels are a gift from God...never will you ever have a person (that you are not bonded to by marriage or blood) openly willing to remove your boots, bandage your stinky feet, refill your bladder (in a good way), make you a scrumptious turkey or PB & honey sandwich, all while while reaffirming your awesomeness, like these amazing folks
- The Chattooga River is gorgeous from any vantage point--shoreside, through the trees, up on a ledge, on the side of the trail whilst peeing, really, any vantage point--but I have to admit that Dueling Banjos did run through my head more than once
- Brecka Putnam has more energy than a three year-old ADHD child slurping Mountain Dew during Frozen On Ice while hugging a golden retriever puppy--seriously woman, can you bottle that up for the rest of us??
- Those of us just leaving Rest Stop Two (and the dark cloud surrounding the port-o-potty--I thought Pig Pen from the Peanuts was the honest to goodness Mayor of that place!) were very grateful that we were not informed that the jack rabbit crowd ahead was almost done with the hike and were a handful of steps away from hot pizza, a cold beer and a steamy shower
- Never have pickles dipped in ranch dressing and then smothered in Cool Ranch Dorito crumbles ever tasted so good
And my bonus #11
It would be totally worth it to be a coach for the hike just to score one of those kick-ass fleece vests
The awe-inspiring people involved in this hike are what make every step, every foot, every mile, totally worth it--our coaches, the CureSearch staff, the other hikers--all of you need to bask in your awesomeness! Think back to where we all were just a few short months ago and then to what we all accomplished on Saturday--the quest for a cure brought us together, but the certainty that we will one day view signs on that homestretch that read only 'In Honor Of...' will keep us all hiking and fighting together
Thank you all for allowing us to be a part of this amazing experience -- Stacy Thompson and Laurie Thompson