March 15, 2016 Bobo Hollow Road, Tennessee
It’s hard to tell you … but my pursuit of a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail ended at Fontana Village (mile 164). For nearly three weeks I have been unable to get the sleep needed to continue this physically demanding hike. I hoped that my body would adjust to sleeping on the ground, in a sleeping bag, and the surrounding environment. But it has not happened and I feel it is unsafe to continue. I found that fatigue was beginning to affect me more each day.
I have been home for four nights and have slept soundly and restfully, without sleeping aids. My doctor has confirmed that there is no physical reason to prevent me from sleeping so it remains a mystery why I did not. Therefore, I am ending my hike. (btw – my stumble last Thursday produced a right ankle sprain that is healing quickly.)
It is very humbling to receive so much support from so many people. You have all been so kind and encouraging. I shared my thoughts on being out of my comfort zone while being on the trail. But, that which was most uncomfortable was “separation “. Separated from things that often are taken for granted in my everyday life; a moment shared with a loved one, enjoying time with friends, established routines, and the warmth of sharing a happy home with someone, I love dearly. My beautiful wife has always supported me. She really is “the number one fan of the man from Tennessee!” Thank you, Catherine. And, while I may miss the challenge of climbing another mountain or a steep and challenging descent, I am glad to be home.👫
Off The Trail,