This entry truly is pre-trip. I thought I had I gathered my thoughts for this highly important entry. As I look into the blank tablet screen I see myself in the reflection. I'm not having a mid-life crisis. I enjoy my job. I play in the mountains surrounding the valley of which I reside. I can say life is good with ease. My feet however, itch. They itch for the callouses that will form after blisters heal. They itch for the pounding of weight upon a trail. My eyes long to see what's over the horizon for me beyond the confines of a map. My feet itch to take them there. My heart is ready to beat free in air recycled through the trees. So why do I stare at this blank screen?
How does one sit at a computer terminal day after day and not long to get outside? Maps grace my cubicle where others have pictures of kids. Where procedures and policies are, I hang route plans. When others suck down the latest fad drink, I stick to the original drinks: coffee, tea, and the all important water.
The idea of hiking originate with the Captain. He'd take me out hunting. My earliest walk in the wood memory is of hunting wood pigeons in a distant land. My favorite camp outs were with the Captain as well, in a canvas pup tent with our feet sticking out.
Decades later I found myself on the other side of the country hiking, hiking a short trail with white blazes. I met a smelly creature with a lawn chair on his back. Crazy fool was my first thought. He explained every ounce well worth it come the end of the day. Every night he became the envy of those who came from the mythical place in Georgia enroute to a holy mountain in Maine. Thus my introduction to the Appalachian Trail.
Come now partner with me as I ready to leave the comforts of my own mountains, as I leave the warmth of a daily commute, come partner with me as I trod where other pilgrims wrestle, where other thru-hikers make peace, where section hikers find rest, and weekenders find escape.
Come partner with me as I ready with the excitement (and fear) of a new path. Partner with me as the new fades into daily effort of putting one foot in front of the other. Partner with me as I experience valley low and share mountain top highs. Find with me the place where I met the smelly creature. Find with me places like the Dragon's Tooth, the Lemon Squeezer, Nuclear Lake. See views from places like Max Patch, McAfee's Knob, Mount Washington. Climb with me to Springer Mountain, flow with me along the Roller Coaster, stand a top Mount Katahdin with me.
|Me on the AT when I was 20 working in Shenandoah NP|
Come now, let's hike! Let's walk together the path amongst the white blazes.