September 22

I felt surprisingly well waking up in the kayak. I think with some work I could make my kayak a pretty comfy bed. The fog was heavy again this morning but I was up and wanted to get moving. I creeped through the fog listening for barges. I hugged the shore and would have to dodge a dock every so often. When the fog finally lifted it was a beautiful day. I realized that my 37 miles a day probably wasn't realistic with no current in the river due to the locks. I still have to decide if I want to cut this section short or delay my return to Florida. I am leaning towards delaying my return and enjoying the change in scenery. I made it to the lock about an hour earlier today than last night. I called the lock to let them know I was there. Good news is that I already had the number in my phone from yesterday. I was nervous to call after basically prank calling them yesterday. I thought about using my southern accent to throw them off. The guy just said he would get it ready. I figured I was in the clear. The door opened and I paddled in. Once I tied off I heard a voice from above say "I have been waiting for you since yesterday". Busted. I apologized over and over. He said it was no problem. They had the spot lights out looking for me hoping I wasn't under one of the barges. I asked if he called the coast guard. He said he was almost at that point. And I noticed he didn't tell me till I was locked in the chamber with no where to go. Actually he was really nice but I kept my life jacket on in case of any hostel feeling he had towards me. He even gave me a good tip for camping and food recommendations for when I get to Marietta. I took off as the sun was setting and headed towards the campsite he recommended. When the sun was down and the light was fading I decided to just take the next spot that was doable. Since sites without overgrown bushes are hard to find, I took a spot that worked. I fired up the two spot lights I bought for the boat and set up my hammock. I did the repairs needed to my hammock the best I could. I decided to just sleep sideways in it to avoid sleeping on the tear. It worked out well.

I realized it was the 11 year anniversary of completing my Appalachian Trail Thru-hike. A journey that changed me forever. The past 11 years I have dreamed of a trip like this but could never make it happen. I usually try and go camping on this day to reflect. Now I am camping everyday and finally doing the trip I thought I would be doing a year or two after I completed my first one. I caught myself thinking what it would have been like if I could have done a trip like this back then. Back when I was drinking and drugging. It would be completely different.  I would be lying if I said there aren’t times on this trip where I wish I could have a cold beer sitting on the shore after a long day.  Definitely times I wish I could smoke a joint and watch the sunset.  But I wouldn’t change the choices that I have chosen for this trip.  Just as I wouldn't change a thing about my Appalachian Trail journey.