Sunday, October 19, 2014

Maybird Gulch

I sit amongst the heap of boulders known as Maybird Gulch. It's a brief easy hike for me in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  What makes this hike nice is the lack of people.  Most on a clear warm fall day will head to Red Pine Lake.  In fact they share the same trail up to the last mile, then this one branches off.  This area reminds me so much of the White's in NH.  Mindful of course the altitude is over three times higher and a peak, the Phiferhorn, looms another 1000 above me.  An early fall of snow hides in the shadows.

A month ago today I entered Baxter State Park, Maine.  My 2,187 mile journey rapidly closing.  I've met many a person and shared with many friends about thus said journey since.  Many are congratulatory, others in disbelief.  Folks, though I'm an avid hiker here in my own back country, averaging 500 miles a year, I too am in as much shock that I completed the Appalachian Trail.  Several of my friends are just as passionate about the outdoors as I.  They shake their heads and say I could never do that.

Part of why I came up here today was to think about the many lessons of the trail.  First I want to apologize to the rocks of Painsylvania.  After hike to the upper bowl of Maybird they aren't so bad, atleast I had white blazes to follow there.  Another lesson was, I learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I woke up every day knowing my feet would be in some form of pain or discomfort.  I just found out I have flat feet.  No wonder I hurt while trying arch supports.  Being comfortable with uncomfortable isn't to ignore issues, it's more accepting that which is unchangeable while modifying that which is until it's no longer an issue.  Another important lesson is though I like to hike alone, I don't do life alone.  Simply put I enjoy community.  We are created to be involved with one another and not to be solitary creatures.  Not only as social creatures but also in the spiritual realms as well.  I enjoyed spending time with the Van Clain and other Christian believers.  As I've come back to SLC I'm enjoying getting back into a community of believers.  I found I need to nurture both my social and spiritual sides to remain balanced.

I'm finding the balanced lifestyle of the trail is a bit different to create at home.  It does take considerable effort.  That balance looks different now then before I left, and was different on the journey.  When I returned to Salt Lake I literally had to stop.  My my trail life is about moving forward every day.  If I wasn't moving, I wasn't making miles, if I wasn't making miles, I wasn't going to finish.   There were times I deliberately stopped.  I had to my body cried out for rest.  Now, I am getting reaquainted with friends and discovering not much happened.  Most say life is status quo.  Did this journey reawaken a passionate love of life I've suppressed?  Did I find a strength in myself I did not know about?  How now can I get this passion to be shared?  How can the estacy(sp) I feel be multiplied into the lives of others?

I am grateful to live in a metropolis so close to mountains of grandure(sp).  I am thankful for my trail family and my friends here.  The experience of the trail is beyond what I expected.  I shake my head in disbelief that I completed all the miles and do so with a mischievous grin thinking let's do it again or atleast take on another challenge to big for comprehension.   Let's find out together.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Statically Speaking

When I look back at the early days of my hike, this picture stands out as one on those that says, "The impossible can be reached."  Walking around the table we see: Jim and his dad Roger - aka Biscuits and Off Meds; next is Alison's Mom and the restaurant owner; Alison - aka Homestretch; Chris - aka Puzzle; Me -Train; and Slim - I never learned Slim's real name.  We were enjoying pizza in Franklin NC which is about 107 miles into our journey.

The Impossible:  We All Summited Mount Katahdin within weeks of each other.
  • Slim was first on Aug 28 according to Appalachian Trials web page.
  • Alison, sported a Super Girl costume was second on Sept 17, also seen on the same site.
  • Jim & Roger on Sept 19.  I met them at the Hunt trail head as I came into the area.
  • I was next the following day on Sept 20
  • Puzzle is the last of the group on Oct 1.  He txt'd me from town later that day.
According to the Appalachian Conservatory's site 1 in 4 or less successfully complete the journey with in one calendar year of their start date.  This year as reported and estimated 2500 left from Springer Mountain GA.  I was 1044.  My thru-hiker number in Baxter is 564.  

I hiked with amazing people.  I do check Trail Journals and Appalachian Trials sites to see who's made it.  I ran into only a few people the day before I summited and on my summit day as I came back into the trail head area.  Everyone has a back story. Everyone shared similar experiences in light of their back story.  We all are shaped by the story of our trail experience.

Just a few links