Bears, ticks, and noro virus!

Bears, ticks, and noro virus!

Hello all! I wanted to apologize first for being so slow to post on here. I know most of you haven’t heard from me since before I left, and you’ve had to rely on updates from other people. As you are aware by now, I am in the woods and on the trail for most of the day. Cell phone service is limited and, when I do have it, I don’t usually blog because of battery life. I will do a better job to post more often, so stay tuned.

I wanted to start with a crazy title, but I’ve encountered none of the aforementioned! While bears, ticks, and noro virus are all on the trail in abundance this season, I’ve dodged them all-so far. The last day in the smokies I had my food bag stolen by a critter (bear I presume), but I didn’t see it. A few days later I heard a hiker talking about a very large 350/400lb black beast in the same location that my bag was taken, and he was interviewed by the park service. I heard my food being taken, and in all honesty was too tired to get out of my tarp tent in the rain and say anything to the bear to try to deter him from eating my supply. I will also say that it was my own fault he was able to get to it as I hung it incorrectly in haste. Ticks really haven’t been an issue to me yet, although I have seen a few already. Noro virus is out there as well. I’ve evaded it thus far, but I’ve heard some real horror stories from those who’ve been afflicted with it. Nasty virus, I must say; able to remain on a surface for close to two weeks!! One word: crazy.

I’ve been on the trail now for over a month, closing in on two months. I’m currently at mile 451, just shy of Damascus Va. The state line is just before the town. Once I cross this line out if Tn and into Va, I will have three states under my belt! Ga, Nc, and Tn will be in the books! A third of the trail, close to 550 miles, lies in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Rumor has it hiking drastically improves, but I’m learning not to listen to anything other people tell me in relation to the trail quality. It’s different for everyone. I wake up everyday expecting to be beat and defeated by rocks and rain, and when I’m not, I’m happy. I also feel that at this point, most hikers are in “trail shape” as they call it, and have their “trail legs”. That being said, Va seems to be easier, but it’s really just the same as the other states. At this point you are conditioned. I digress. I’m looking forward to Va! I have connections all up the state, and will be able to see a lot of friends, and eat a lot of real food! These are all very exciting things for someone who has been deprived of both for some time.

The ministry aspect of my thru hike is going well too! God is putting people in my life daily for a reason. On the trail I see and meet new people everyday, and relationships are building. They, like anything else, take time. Our ministry is serving a hiking community. That community is constantly on the move. We start everyday at different times, hike and break at different intervals, and rest each night at different shelters. That’s the nature of the people I’m serving, and the Holy Spirit is moving in that. It’s pretty awesome to see The Lord at work daily and be so in tune with Him speaking that I can feel it in nature. It’s truly remarkable!

I will post again soon, but I smell dinner cooking.. Hope everyone is well and has a blessed Sunday! God bless!

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Hey Everyone,

  This is the AT Chaplain’s girlfriend, Jen. I know it’s been a while since anyone has heard from Josh so I thought I’d take this opportunity to pilfer his blog and give an update. We sent Josh off from Springer Mountain, Georgia on Wednesday, April 4th in the rain and sleet. Since then he has hiked more than 60 miles! Saturday he did 13.1, Sunday was 15.0, and Monday was 13.4. He is now within a few hiking days of the Georgia/North Carolina border. He is, however, going to take 1-2 zero days coming up and spend some time in town…Apparently some rest and a shower are in order. He’s loving every minute of this hike, even the cold/wet ones, and is generally just doing wonderfully! Here’s one of the pictures of the scenery he took on Saturday. Absolutely Gorgeous!!!!!

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T-7 days

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In exactly one week, I begin my journey of a lifetime.  I will be walking.  Walking from Georgia to Maine in fact.  While some look at the task and think to themselves, this guy’s a nut, others are green with envy and wished they could join.  I’m certainly not ruling out the fact that I may be a nut, because it takes a special kind of crazy to walk through 14 states on a trail up the East Coast, but I also recognize how blessed I am in getting this unique opportunity.  The idea of living out of my pack for six months is one I’ve always wanted to attempt.  I’ve dreamed of hiking this famous footpath for years, and now I have the chance to do it.  I have the chance to do so as a “chaplain” as well.  Even better, right?  Right!  I’m looking forward to stepping out in faith to answer this call!  The Lord calls us everyday (in all kinds of ways, big and small)  to minister and be a disciple for Him as Christians.  It’s up to us, to answer.   That being said, I’m a firm believer that things happen on HIS time.  Not ours.  My goal is not only to grow spiritually on this “jaunt through the woods”, but help others see clearly the many blessings around them as God speaks to us through nature. His living word is apparent in every tree, every waterfall, every shelter, every white blaze, even every mosquito.  -(though that opinion towards the mosquito I’m fully certain will change…)  We are called to love one another.  That’s something that gets overlooked sometimes in the world today in my opinion.  We forget to help our neighbors out, and we often forget to be friendly.  From the simplicity of a smile or wave, to a phone call telling someone you love them and how much they mean to you, I’m going to set out to help others, and to be that friend on and off the trail.  Be quick to listen, and slow to judge. 

-HARDTACK