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Standing Bear Farm to Walnut Mountain Shelter: A few of us hikers sat by the fireplace early in the morning as we enjoyed a warm cup of coffee. Voodoo found a new pair of Lone Peak shoes in the hiker box and threw his old ones up on a tree branch. We were all packed up and ready to go, but it often took some internal motivation to get going.
A few miles into our hike, Voodoo revealed he was an abstract artist as he drew some signature artwork on a metal pole using his mirror marker. It felt special to witness his mind in a state of creativity, especially since the way he expressed artistically was very different than the way I chose to express.
We made it to Max Patch—a beautiful hillside with open views of the mountains and city. Voodoo and I asked an elderly woman to take a photo of us—he kissed my cheek and I felt loved. I appreciated how gentle he was with me outside of the bedroom, treating me with delicacy and adornment. We did a couple of handstands on top of the hill and french kissed in front of some day hikers.
On our way down, we met a girl named Mystery Machine who saw us thru-hiking and asked if we wanted some candy. It could not have been better timing as we were both out of snacks and needed a pick-me-up before the next climb. She opened up her pack and handed us Skittles, Twix, Peanut M&M’s and much more!
I thought about how much I loved the AT. Great trail, great community, great views. I was still blown away by how many people told me I wouldn’t be seeing many views and that it would be pretty repetitive, however, I felt as if I’ve been seeing SO much! Regardless, I wouldn’t even feel upset if I had to walk through a forest tunnel the whole way through.
Throughout the rest of the day, Voodoo would stop and kiss me mid climbs. Sweaty and out of breath, he said to me, “I really like you. I want to get to know you better.” The feeling was mutual; I felt a sense of opening my heart for him, slowly but surely.