The journey is over and done! I finished up my trek of 2,189 miles over 6 months on September 4, 2017 and what a day it was. I started my climb up Mount Katahdin at 7am and within a couple hours Baxter State Park closed the trail to any new traffic because the weather was so bad. There was crazy powerful winds, fog, rain, hail, freezing temperatures all coupled with the grueling climb up. What a way to end! Here are a few pictures:
Finally reaching the summit and end was surreal. The final hill up, the fog ahead slowly breaking for the summit sign to take shape, and the immense and almost explainable satisfaction of physically touching the end of your thru-hike. Though it was freezing cold I couldn’t help but stay up there for a good while offering prayers of thanksgiving in the silent shock of completion. Still, more than a week later, all I really have to say about that moment is I am blessed beyond measure and thankful with ever fiber of my being for being able to hike this trail through, with, and in Christ.
It’s taken me a little bit of time to write this last Timchi-A.T. Reflection. Mostly because finishing this hike is truly a shock and it takes my brain a while to catch up and process. I have 6 months of puzzle pieces to put together and I’ve never been great at that. Even now I still have only grasped a fraction of my experiences but I thought it was time to have a final address.
I feel like to understand the end I want to go back to the beginning. In my first post, many months ago, before I had even set foot on the A.T. as a thru hiker I laid out my pre-trail thoughts and what I hoped to gain from this trip. Now, looking back, I still stand by those thoughts, specifically: Boasting in Your Weakness. If I had to boil my hike down to one lesson I learned it would be: “Boy, am I weak.” This is not some romantic or humble reflection on the nature of humanity and myself, it is a raw, real, painful, joyful, and necessary realization to understanding life as a created human. Yes, I did hike 2,000 miles in every kind of weather and stretched myself spiritually, physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally to my absolute limit but I did not do that on my own. In fact I could NOT have done it on my own. I was, more than I would care to confess: sinful, lazy, afraid, and unfaithful to the laws of Our Father. I am SO weak and that has never been more evident to me than during my A.T. thru hike. BUT! But, but, but… That is part of the beauty of being a child of God. HE KNOW US. HE KNOWS WE ARE WEAK. He knows everything we do and everything in our hearts. AND through it all, no matter what, He speaks the truth:
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”
This is it. This is the base layer, the bedrock of our lives. Understanding that we are weak and flawed but in that is were Christ’s life within us is made perfect. Oh, happy fault! That won for us a mighty Savior! I think it is also necessary to add, though I am weak and saw that weakness displayed all the more, I was also strong and conquered many things, and was brave, true to myself, true to God, true to His laws, and experienced joy and happiness beyond belief. God is good all the time!
I don’t think I shared this with you all in any of my posts but about half way through my hike I had made up my mind to quit. Like actually quit. To just go half way and call it a day. This was prompted by a brush with death in the form of a lightning storm on a mountain top, many existential questions being asked, and the point is that for weeks I prayed and prayed and had my mind and heart set on stopping after getting to the halfway point. When I got to Front Royal, VA I came home for the weekend to see my siblings perform in a play. I will never forget it was Saturday, driving to Mount Saint Mary’s and I was looking out the window pondering life when suddenly as clear as day God said to me: “You’re not done.” That was it, just a simple three words, but that was all I needed. I knew, for sure, then and there that I was in fact meant to finish this trip. And now here I am, in a truly miraculous way, an A.T. thru-hiker. I guess going along with boasting in your weakness, I would love if my story could help others to say yes in their own lives. Maybe your going through something unbelievably taxing or you feel prompted to go towards something scary or seemingly unconquerable. Trust in Him. Give Him everything. And DO NOT HESITATE TO SAY: YES!
Life is too short to be afraid!
I also want to say thank you to EVERYONE who helped my in anyway on this trip. To all those who I met and stayed with. To all those who gave me food and drink. To all those who gave me spiritual hope and encouragement. To all those who prayed unceasingly. And to all those who join me in desiring to live a life of radical resolve. I thank you all so much!
Well, I think this is it for now! I have the last blast of pictures attached and I hope you enjoy them. This is Timchi/Pilgrim signing off and though my Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike is now complete, my life of adventures has just begun… PEACE!
Also!!!! I took before and after pictures of myself! Here ya go: ***caution! Shirtless pics ahead: