It's so easy to forget that there is still a world outside the rhododendron tunnels that I walk through every day. Beyond the mountains and over the sunset, the rest of the world is still continuing on as if the AT is just a trail in the woods through the mountains that people can hike. And they are right.
It's nice to be in the mountains and not hear about pointless crimes taking place all over the country. I can hide out in nature and see all the beauty of the world. The majesty of mountains at sunset, the smells of a forest just after a thunderstorm, and the truly wonderful people you encounter. It makes me feel invincible. Like the world is all good and nothing bad can reach me out on the trail. But even in a place as happy and beautiful as the Appalachian Trail, sad news can still reach you.
It can make it even worse when you realize you are so far away and in the middle of nowhere. You can feel very helpless and selfish for being out on such an adventure when others are hurting.
The only thing I know to do is to continue hiking. To realize I am extremely lucky. To not take any sunrise or sunset for granted. To be kind to friends. To be grateful to every generous stranger that I come across. And to enjoy life to the fullest for all those who can not.