Having so many ways to stay continuously aware of where I am provides an odd contrast. On one hand, I am lulled by the slow but steady progress I’m making. On the other, I become sharply aware I am nearing the end. These feelings both build and deflate the anticipation.
Every now and then, I see a marker that puts the remaining distance in better perspective. I passed one of those this afternoon. It was a small, wooden sign mounted on a tree, which simply said, “Kathdin 500 miles.”
Through regular checks of my trail app, I knew when I saw the sign it wasn’t placed in the correct spot. The distance of the trail changes slightly from one year to the next, but the sign had not been moved to match the current distance. Still, it was close enough.
Maybe it was because I knew of the inaccurate location, or maybe because 500 miles still seemed like a formidable number, but I didn’t celebrate when I saw the sign. I lingered a few moments, though, to smile and contemplate. Reaching the end seemed more possible than ever.