Location: Washington, DC
Today I saw Mom and Dad for the first time since I began my trip. Katie let me borrow her car and I went to visit them at their hotel room. I have missed them these last few months, but reuniting with them was not as emotional as I thought it might be. I fended off any strong emotional reactions because I need to ensure that my mentality remains fixed on completing the trail. Leaving DC with them and returning home would be so easy. By car, home is only five hours of interstate driving away. By foot, I still have two months. Often people bail out on their thru-hike when family comes to visit them at AT milestones like Harper’s Ferry and Damascus, VA. The desire to remain on the trail can be a fragile state of mind, and often the comforts of home and company can encourage a person to leave.
After visiting with Mom and Dad for a while, I returned to Katie’s. We went to Sushi Sushi for lunch, and I gorged on raw tuna and rice. Not Bad has decided that he wants a dog to accompany him on the trail for the duration of his trip. He contacted several pet adoption agencies in DC, but few have any interest in allowing a dog to take on the rigorous lifestyle of a thru-hiker. The trail can be particularly difficult for dogs. I have seen dogs with bleeding pads and nails, and many that look downright mangy and starving.
This evening, Mom and Dad treated Katie, Not Bad, and I to a Mexican dinner. I have wanted Mexican food for several months now, and my desires were satisfied by baskets of tortilla chips, hot salsa, and crunchy tacos. Not Bad’s stomach caused him significant pain throughout dinner, and it has been bothering him since he ate the half gallon of ice cream a few days ago. He acts as though he has contracted a waterborne virus, but I believe he has damaged his stomach somehow by eating so much ice cream. He ate the least of anyone at dinner, including Katie, and his physical appearance has deteriorated over the last days. My body is emaciated, but compared to Not Bad, my parents think I look much healthier.