08-31-2018. The Long Ride Home.

As I sit quietly in my coach seat steadily moving South I have attempted in every way to imagine that what I am hearing is clickity-clack….. clicking-clack….. Since my childhood I have had it instilled in my mind that riding a train sounds like clickity-clack. But….. it just isn’t so. I hear the steady sound of steel wheels on steel tracks. It’s actually not a bad sound but it’s supposed to be clickity-clack.

I guess it just goes to prove that you can’t always get things the way you imagined them. Rails don’t always clickity-clack and hiking trails don’t always remain accessible. Sometimes you just have to accept plan B or C or even D.

Brother Scott and the Return To South Carolina

The thought crosses my mind that the sound of the rails may be compromised by this never ending ringing in my ears that has been my constant companion since July 22nd. It is more than aggravating and insures that there will never be a quiet moment. Gone is the wonderful sound of silence or…..even better…. the sounds of the forest. The sounds of a flowing stream… or the wind gently moving the leaves on the trees. They are now replaced by a constant ringing that reminds me of taking a never ending hearing test. You all have done that! You know….”When you hear a noise please press the button.” My button is continuously pressed.

The trail has been replaced with this….. and bustle…. and noise…. and unnecessary clutter. I’m not at all happy about it. I have wonderful moments waiting for me in South Carolina…. positive ….. all of them. But I didn’t finish my quest and with that comes a feeling of disappointment… pleased and proud of what I managed to do but still…..an unfinished goal.

And so I sit watching the terrain pass by my window and soon it becomes….

Ugly….I miss the hikers and the smell of outdoors.

I boarded the train in Providence, Rhode Island and for one stop I had peace. But the next station that ended….I had a seat companion…. Out came multiple bags of snacks….. chips and candy and many many many food items that crunch.

The new unwanted guest came complete with yellow fingernails and ……. a cellphone…… a very loud cellphone. As soon as the person settled in the phone came out.

An immediate outgoing call….. an answer…..I could hear him …. his name was George. I wondered if this was an on line acquaintance. He didn’t seem too engaging. As a matter of fact he was downright boring yet she loudly laughed at his every word….and She snorted!!!!

And with each snort volumes of chips and trail mix spewed around the train. I suddenly wished that I had an umbrella for the unfortunate souls in the row in front of us.

Never would I have imagined that I would look forward to the peace and quiet of Penn Station in New York. The hundred of folks there were quiet in comparison to my train companion. Her shrill voice reverberated through my ringing ears like a loud speaker. Penn Station saved me. Who’d a thunk!!!

And now? A new train South with a final destination of New Orleans. For me…. Greenville, SC. My new companion has a computer and headphones and I like her maybe…… but it’s not the trail. My unbalanced ringing self is heading home.

6 thoughts on “08-31-2018. The Long Ride Home.

  1. I am sorry to hear that things have ended like this for you. You accomplished so much; more than anyone of your age. You are a strong man and a wonderful friend. You are a blessing to me and to many others. I pray some doctor will be able to help you. I know you will give it your best for as I said you are a strong man but it is okay to be weak sometimes. I will do anything I can to help you at any time. Let me help. Love you, Gloria

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  2. Only you can tell a funny story about a train ride. I was captivated by the woman passenger. That made the trip worthwhile (to me). You could make interesting stories out train rides. Sound like something you would like to do?? LOL

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  3. Sorry you had to quit. I know you’re disappointed. I had to quit my first attempt, as well as my 2nd, which I went to where the first ended, and did the rest of the trail. I cannot remember when my ears did not ring. Jakebrake

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  4. It’s been extremely frustrating for me. Actually I’m a little angry about it. The idea of not finishing does not compute for me. Many let me know how I should be happy with what i accomplished but…….that trail is 2,190 miles….and I have not hiked that. Thanks for you input.

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