My pack is loaded. I've taken it all out and double-checked it several times just to make sure I haven't forgotten anything important. Now...the countdown to June 1st has officially begun and I'll spend the next few days contemplating my upcoming 40 mile hike on the A.T.: Will the weather cooperate? We've been rained on for at least most of one day every time we've gone out. Will we come across another bear on the trail, as he/she sits calmly, tasting blackberries. What sounds will fill what's suppose to be the silence of the night? I've learned that the woods is a very loud place at night. Will we share our camp each night with others? Will there be any equipment malfunctions? Any falls this time? At the rate I'm going, how many years will it take me to finish? All of these rather mundane things will go through my mind this week. But they say it's not how far you go but the journey that counts...and I believe this to be true. From the first time I laid eyes on the A.T. sign at the Amicalola Falls visitor center, I knew that walking the A.T. was something I had to do, no matter how long it takes me. It's what I learn about myself that keeps me going back....how I am forced to face some of my fears and push through the pain even when that voice in my head tries to tell me to quit. When I come out of those woods at Winding Stair Gap, NC the sense of accomplishment will be like nothing I experience in anything else I do. I find I feel more at home out on the trail than I do sitting here in my apartment...and to quote my sister as she stood, looking out across the view from the summit of Blood Mountain during our first day hike up...."It just doesn't get any better than this!" So yes...I'm looking forward to "getting back to nature," for it is there that I find my true self hiding behind the conventions put on me by the grind of daily life....and when I come out of the woods I'll be dirty, exhausted, sore and very smelly but I'll be smiling with a sense of pride and joy rivaled by nothing else I do!
|Looking out from Powell Mountain|