Day Four: Biking the GAP “Final Destination”

Day Four: Final Destination- Cumberland, MD

We woke up early the next morning determined to be in Cumberland to get ice cream before our shuttle would pick us up at three pm. There was such a dense fog that you couldn’t see the river as we crossed the bridge to get back on the trail. The fog burnt off quickly though and we took our jackets and gloves off once we warmed up enough. About ten miles from Rockwood we came across a micro waterfall and a memorial bench that was carved with the phrase, “Life should always be filled with adventure.” This struck me as a sign because of all the changes I’m going through this year. I was holding a lot of doubt in myself because I had not secured a full time job after college until I got my position with the Trail Town Program through the Student Conservation Association. I was bartending in a small town with not a whole lot to look forward to. I was going to move to California to bartend out there last April until I got my fellowship. And while I often put on a very strong and confident front, I question myself and nearly give myself a heart attack every time I think about what will happen within the next year. I like to plan but as I’ve learned over the past few years, plans often do not work out the way we intended them too and more often than not, there are moments that are inconvenient to us but in the long run make us better people.  In the time of my fellowship, I’ve managed to not only grow professionally but also grow as a human being who is learning to cope with change, and to deal with a lot of change at once. I think if we were to look at change as an adventure instead of an impending, ominous moment in our lives, a lot more of the time we spend each day would be made richer and more connected to each other.

After spending some time snacking and taking photos at the bench, we trekked onto the Eastern Continental Divide. Although the trail didn’t look any different, we could feel in our quadriceps that we were climbing up a hill. Once we got to the Eastern Continental Divide, we found out that we made almost a 2,000 foot climb since we left Pittsburgh!

The next twenty-four miles were very easy though. There were several miles where I just stood and coasted on my bike. My coworker and I started singing songs to each other. We were only eight miles away from getting ice cream in Cumberland and feeling pretty good when I got a flat though. I have never had a flat on my bike until then. I heard the pop, a bigger pop than usual, and the next thing I know I was riding on the rim of my front wheel. Determined to get ice cream, I changed the flat with no time down and we were back on the trail.

By the time we reached the end of the trail, we were exhausted. We took the obligatory group photo at the end and got our ice cream at the Queen City Creamery. We then piled into our shuttle and drove back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Overall, the trip was an enriching experience and I hope to do the GAP trail and the C&O Canal to finish the whole 335 miles next year. It definitely was a “ride of your life.”