Whelp, it's all over. I walked 3,575 miles across America; I crossed 3 mountain ranges, 3 major rivers, 3 time zones, with enough elevation gain to have summited Mt. Everest OVER 5 TIMES, and with the help of all you lovely people out there, I raised nearly $22,000 for Beads of Courage. I faced countless dogs... a moose, a couple close calls with cars... 100+ degree heat, polar-vortex cold, rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, tornadoes (not in one, but close enough), hail and hurricane force winds. Hordes of flies, grasshoppers, moths, spiders... But with all the bad, there was 100 times the good. I met countless amazing people and saw the beauty of America that only moving at 3 MPH can offer; crystal-clear lakes and rivers, wild flowers galore, soaring eagles and hawks, prairie dogs, deer, a moose... antelope, fox frolicking in a field, wild turkey... and perfect silence while camping alone under the stars.
My final day was of course, bittersweet. So excited to touch the Atlantic and be able to say I walked coast-to-coast and finally go to home to my family and friends, but also very sad that when I got to the ocean, I could literally walk no further and that would be the end of this epic, big adventure.
I am so thankful to everyone who came out; my mom and dad, my boyfriend, my brother and his wife, my aunt, my mom's cousin, and all my host families for making the drive to come out to celebrate my final 2.5 miles! It worked out really well actually, I wanted to meet at the North Beach parking lot, which just so happened to be next to the light house, and a really good restaurant called North Beach bar and grill. My family and I ate lunch there, and hung out until everyone arrived. We dropped off two cars at the other end of the island, and then came back and set up BMW to begin our last 2.5 miles together. We were off and walking just after 3 PM.
It went perfectly, it was cloudy and cold, but we moved much faster than I thought we would have, and we got to the beach around 4:30 and we warmed up by the time we got there. I really didn't know how I was going to react; the last few days of walking didn't invoke any kind of reaction other than it just being another day of walking, no tears, no extreme happiness or sadness. But the moment I started walking on the beach to the water, it hit me, I could literally walk no further. Once I walked into the water, I could only walk so far before I would have to start swimming, and swimming across the pond to Europe wasn't really part of the plan. I cried a lot less than I thought I would, probably because there were so many people taking pictures it made me a little nervous. I stopped before I got too close to the surf, and took off my shoes and socks and rolled my pant legs and then just walked into the cold Atlantic ocean. It felt like I was in there forever, and time stopped for a brief moment, but after watching a video, it apparently was only a few seconds.
The family I stayed with in Eatonton, GA gave me an... apple pie beverage... to celebrate the end of my walk with (thanks!) so I bought some red solo cups and gave everyone just a little bit for a cheers on the beach! It was perfect, absolutely perfect. Most of us walked a quarter of a mile back down the island to Sting Ray's seafood where we would be having dinner. That was perfect too, a few of us stayed until almost 11, and I said my good byes to some wonderful, wonderful people, whom I will never forget and I will always consider family.
My family and I stayed through Monday morning, and we spent the day together Sunday sight-seeing and just enjoying the small family reunion. I am taking a week to drive back to Tucson, stopping to see family in Texas.
I will update once I get some more pictures from the finish, and I have a video my friend and I are going to make, that I will post once it's finished (might be a month or so). But if you ever wonder how I'm doing, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For now, I guess that's it! If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to post. Once I get home I'll probably sit down and do some kind of re-cap on the entire experience. LOVE YOU ALL! Thank you so much for following me on my adventure across America.