Jupiter’s Final Reflection on Mercury’s AT Transit

From a misty, moist midnight start on Springer (7/7) to a crystal-clear, cool, windy late afternoon end atop Katahdin (8/27), it was a journey of relentless forward motion steeped in perseverance, resiliency, focus, discipline, patience, adaptability, and sound decision-making.  It was a trek filled with natural beauty, smooth teamwork, intelligence, raw emotion and overcoming fear/self-doubt. It was filled with kind helpers along the way and the insight gained through honest effort through sunlight and storm. Long days/evenings of walking and shorter days of sleep, and hoped-for but never-realized recovery. There was the pain and suffering of blisters, an infected toe, and shin splints. There were tears shed and goals to reassess.
There was much night hiking alone fearlessly through forest and field, across streams and up and down rock ledges. Many days were started with whimpering waiting for the blisters to numb themselves. Many days ended with whimpering caused by sheer exhaustion and, once the adrenaline was no longer needed, the pain reappearing.
It was hard. Very little was easy. Anything good and fun had to be earned through arduous physical effort.
Bear and lightening encounters, bee bites, blisters and drenching.
Walking into dawn/morning and then walking into dusk/night almost every day.
There was no such thing as a 7-8 hour sleep.
There wasn’t much fun – there will be a time and place for fun in the post-transit future.
No time to be sick, or to relax, for 52 days.
It was simple, honest and intense. The relief of watching your lights coming in after descending rugged terrain at night to the brief safety of Pegasus.
It was an honor and a privilege to support Mercury. She made me feel proud of her. I was useful. I had a purpose. I felt very alive, I made a commitment. I fulfilled it.
It was a very meaningful way to spend 52 days of my life in its twilight years. I have no regrets on being part of this grand, arduous adventure.
Yes, “Genius IS wisdom and youth!”
(Special thanks for a guest appearance by Sam Swisher-McClure – another extraordinary youngster who gave me another past summer of a full, grateful heart.)
Mercury, this is your Jupiter saying THANK YOU!
May the summer of 2020 ever lie fair in your memory! May it provide you a lifetime of insight and inspiration.
(and now, it’s OVER and OUT!)

One response to “Jupiter’s Final Reflection on Mercury’s AT Transit”

  1. […] Liz “Mercury” Anjos just clocked the second fastest AT thru hike (and fastest NB) and ha… […]

Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds fastest known times for women on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

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