Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Going to GA! These eyes will see the Appalachian Trail again.

Hello All

I am excited to be going on the trail again. I have 6 days off starting tomorrow...YAY!!! As I am thinking about the drive tomorrow up to Georgia, looking through my old trail pictures and had a welling up of love like a lump in my throat and I say to my self still in awe of the strength of the experience, "that was one of the happiest and genuinely happy time in my life.

The picture is a picture of some friends from the trail at Fontana Dam right before the Smokies. I have more of these than I can say. Pictures of other thru-hikers from all over, different backgrounds and varying personalities all looking disheveled and tired but happy, at peace, thoughtful. hiking the Appalachian Trail is probably the most challenging I can think of doing. not just the physical part, hiking 2200 miles in 5months, but the mental and emotional part. Some days you are so tired that the idea of continuing the trek is inconceivable. Then you get to a shelter or camp with fellow hikers, who are just as tired, they hiked the same path you had and you sit and eat and laugh...sometime cry and help each other to make it the next day. The unity that I felt and saw formed was a unity I have never seen in my life. A love that transcends all boundaries is formed because all after a while have been humbled by the mountains.

I think when you start your 5-6 month hike you have already been humbled some by the preparations of travel, the doubt in yourself and the feedback from loved ones. You get to Springer your first day and have no idea of the profound change that is coming for you on that little path through the mountains, a change where you will never be the same.

To be able to challenge yourself in anything and achieve what you do not imagine possible is so beautiful experience and then to not make that journey alone like I though I would when I headed to GA on my own. I met guys that made me laugh until I could not breathe. I met people who's kindness and optimism made me hopeful. I met trail angels that convince you there is still so much service and humanity in this land. Most of all there was not one day that I did not feel the love of God with me. It took me a while to figure out why that was, it was like I was on my mission again accept there was no urgency and pressure that comes with such a weight call, just peace in looking around at the mountains and trees and animals and friends.

Like I said I am excited to go back for a couple days. I do not expect it to be the same as few people will be on the trail this early but I will have a smile on my face as I hike thinking about those memories last year.


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