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.