It is less than one hundred feet away.
I start moving faster.
I need to get there.
The sun has erupted over the peak of the mountain.
The cold air chills my hot skin.
Colors so vivid are surrounding me.
I move faster.
My breath coming in gasps.
So many times I've tried to imagine this moment.
Only 50 feet now.
Over 5 months I've been trying to get here.
Now I can see the end.
I need to be there.
My throat starts to tighten.
I move even faster.
I hear a wheezing with each inhale.
My feet are a blur of motion beneath me.
It is beautiful.
I throw my poles to the ground.
I begin to slow.
Emotion chokes my breathing.
I am there.
I place my hand on the sign.
I fall to the ground sobbing.
I have made it.
I am overwhelmed with emotion.
I am happy.
I am sad.
I am relieved.
I am in awe.
I am tired.
I am done.
I've dreamed about this moment since I was nineteen years old when my buddy Mike and I first talked about hiking the trail. Now 16 years later, I have done it. What seemed like an insurmountable feat is now over. I doubted if I would even finish. The pain I experienced in Georgia, the illness in Virginia, Pennsylvania and then again in Maine, the sometimes dangerous trail that I was sure I was going to slip and fall off a ledge, was now behind me. I am weeping openly, no holding back. I turn my head to the east and basked in the sunrise on top of my final destination. I don't think I've seen a more incredible sight.
I had the whole mountain to myself. I spent an hour watching the morning sun paint the clouds. I watched as the long shadows on the hillsides slowly got smaller as the sun crept higher in the sky. I felt peace.
I would like to thank everyone who followed this journey with me. It was nice to be able to share my thoughts and experiences when I had the chance. I feel like I was able to start fresh after each time I wrote another entry. Now I think I'll celebrate with a chicken quesadilla.
If you would like to find me on facebook the best way is to search for Matt French Horse Training. Drop me a line, I'd be happy to hear from you.