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Return to Springer Mountain

Not as hot today and good thoughts may have willed the clouds in. Unexpected springs added to good hydration today.

I was surprised how much I was saddened by the idea of finishing the BMT. I have another trail waiting for me, and yet I felt like I was walking to the guillotine as I finished it. I felt like I was carrying a horcrux for part of the day (sorry only HP fans will get that reference…there isn’t a better way to describe my feeling). And yet, when I walked upon the Benton MacKaye Memorial on the top of Springer Mtn, I was elated–not at finishing the trail, but that the trail ended with a plaque honoring my hero.

I realize that my mini hike means so much more to me than the miles. In two weeks, my friends can report little news, yet I survived a tornado, saw antiques in the home of a TN fisherman, had 6 inches of ice fall on me, slept in a ruin, drank with TN mountain construction workers, scared away a bear while on the phone, saw wild pigs, became confident and speedy in tarp and hammock set up, learned to not be afraid of fording rushing rivers…not bad for a little hike! What a great warm-up to the AT!

Benton: your trail may be little traveled, but it suitably honors you, even if it is not as scenic as the trail you dreamed up. Understated, humble, and complicated–these words describe both you and your trail. What a special feeling it was to read your biography as I hiked your trail. I wish more people knew of your name and work, but perhaps, like the BMT, it is best you and your ideas are found by those who go way out of their way to seek it/you.

Liz "Snorkel" Thomas

Liz Thomas is a well-traveled adventure athlete most known for breaking the women’s unsupported speed record on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. She has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking–the Appalachian Trail, the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail–and has backpacked over 15,000 miles across the United States. While not on trail, Liz lives in Denver, Colorado.