Sunday, August 7, 2016
It's no secret that one of my passions is hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Each year, I look forward to that particular week when we load up our packs and head out for our section hike. We usually can only go for a week at a time, which includes 5 or 6 days of hiking and a couple days of travel time and it's become my "event of the year," so to speak. But, as we all know, sometimes life steps in and things just don't work out according to plan. This has been one of those years. Many things have come to pass since we came back from the A.T. last October but we made tentative plans to return for a hike with a wonderful man we'd met a couple years ago who doesn't live far from us here in Tampa. I'd planned our route. We'd picked the dates. All that was left to do was work out those last-minute details before heading up to Hot Springs, NC next month. In spite of our best efforts, however, our plans have fallen through and we now have to set our sights ahead to next summer when we'll hopefully take on the Smoky Mountains.
Ordinarily, having the rug pulled out from under our plans so close to our departure date would have filled me with a sense of disappointment that's hard to describe. What I'm feeling is something totally different. Yes, I'm a bit disappointed because I do love our time on the trail. I'd even been given the green light to go ahead and go on the hike as planned, minus my hiking partner, my sister. I didn't even have to think about it really. What having to put things on hold till next year has taught me is that going out on the trail without my usual hiking partners isn't what I want to do. It just doesn't seem right to me. The section hikes are something I share with my sister and my brother, whenever he can work it out to go. Until the day comes where they tell me flat out that they no longer wish to take those hikes with me, I'll wait for them. Perhaps that's because what I love about the A.T. isn't just what I get out of it personally, but more importantly, the memories I make with my family members. So, as we head skate towards the end of 2016, the year will come and go without me stepping a foot on the A.T. We'll get there next year. I know we will. Here's to us and taking on the Smokies in 2017!