Sunday, October 3, 2010

What a gift it was ...

October 1st marked six months, to the day, that I summited Georgia's Springer Mountain and began my trek north on the Appalachian Trail. It also marked the conclusion of my journey, at least for this year.

While the terrain in Massachusetts and Connecticut was certainly more gentile, it was still more than my knee could handle. Bottom line, I simply can not continue to hike this year due to injury. It's not for lack of desire or will or motivation or passion that I leave the trail ... it's the true inability to physically complete the task.

As I walked (okay ... hobbled) the last 3.3 miles, down a mountain, to a road leading into Kent, CT I felt peace. Peace in the inevitable decision to turn left, towards town, instead of crossing the road and continuing the trail up the next mountain. I felt peace and calm and understanding radiating from within. The walking portion of my journey had concluded. I had truly given it my best and that's all anyone can ever ask of themselves. It's for that reason that I am not forlorn, nor disappointed, nor angry with myself, God or anyone else. I gave this hike everything I had, left it all on the proverbial field, so yes, I'm proud of myself and my accomplishments. I'm proud of the fact that I hiked 1,700 miles. I'm proud that I faced a million fears, challenges and obstacles ... and overcame them. I'm proud that I transformed my mind, body and soul ... in only positive ways. Yes, even the knee injury is something I look at as a positive ... a gift. Admittedly, I didn't feel that way about it at first or even until late in the game, heck maybe not even until the very moment I realized my hike was over ... but it is a gift. All of the turmoil, strife, pushing forward and times of questioning were gifts because within each moment, good or bad, is a lesson. My life, my experiences, are not the exception ... they are the rule. While the circumstances by which I uncovered, discovered and learned from these experiences over the past six months may have been well outside most people's "norm" it's not to diminish the fact that each of us has the opportunity to learn from the experiences in our "normal" lives, every day. In fact, kudos to anyone who already gets this didn't have too hike the Eastern Seaboard to figure it out! It's much harder to seize upon life's true lessons when they're wrapped within the daily stressors of a typical Tuesday.

Wouldn't it be nice if all of life's lessons were learned exclusively from happy and fun times? Of course! But for me, as I believe with most, I learn some of my biggest lessons from the challenges I've faced, examined and overcome.

I am proud of my efforts even if the outcome wasn't how I envisioned it to be. My experiences have changed me in ways that are too vast to recount now ... but I am a better person for pursuing a dream, my dream, and living life with passion, excitement and authenticity.

I've made new, lifelong, friends. I've witnessed nature's beauty and its wrath. I've pushed to, through and past mental and physical barriers. I've learned what it means to embrace life in the moment, the very nanosecond of the present. From that place I understand, and accept, the gifts bestowed upon me ... including joy, peace, stillness, wonderment, acceptance, forgiveness and love. It's my new goal to cling to those gifts instead of stress, frustration and annoyance. It's such a calm place to live, in the awareness of the present moment. I encourage everyone to try it. :-)

One of my favorite saying has always been, "Leap and the net shall appear." You know what? It always has and I have faith that it will continue to do so. Faith has been such an important component of this trip and will remain a constant component in my ongoing journey of life.

I've been honored that so many people have followed my travels and joined me in this experience, via this blog. Your words of encouragement, gifts of support and prayers have lifted me up over the past six months. I thank each of you for the gifts, jewels really, that you've given me. Indeed, some of the lessons I mentioned earlier were delivered to me right here, from your comments. It's not always a gigantic ah-ha statement that carries the lessons to us ... sometimes it can be a subtle as the smell of wildflowers on a breeze that can pull our attention, just long enough, to see whatever it is that we're supposed to see.

My lessons from this journey will continue. I look forward to experiencing how they will unveil themselves. I may, from time to time, pop on and post an update ... and share some of those lessons with you, that is if people seem interested.

For now, I'm on my way back to re-entering "normal" life. That said, I refuse to allow "normal" to mean boring. Ahhh ... I guess that will be my first "post-hike" lesson for ya.

** Boring is a choice ... and so is failure. True one's plans may not turn out as intended but if you TRY - and give it 110% - then I can almost guarantee that, at least, you won't be bored and you certainly won't have failed.**

May all of your dreams be lofty, may all of your steps be made in purpose and may you experience joy as you pursue YOUR life's journey.

With blessings, love and thanks to all,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hey There ...

Okay, so some of you may not like snakes but I'm a fan. No, you won't find me harboring any in an aquarium, since I think they belong in the great outdoors, but I'm not opposed to snapping their photo if they'll let me. This guy was super photogenic. In fact he circled back and popped up for a head shot (see below).

Rollin on,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone


You may have to double click on this photo to enlarge it but it's as close as I could get without scaring the snake away. He seemed just as interested in me as I was with him so maybe I could have gotten closer but I didn't think it prudent to stick my cell phone (and hand) that close to his head. He might not be poisonous but there's still no need to get bitten.

Next adventure I'll be sure to bring a camera that zooms in!

Rollin on,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Nature's Roller Skates...

Recently it occurred to me that the caveman didn't have to think very hard when it came to "inventing" the wheel. Sure they had to figure out the whole tool fabrication thing (hammer and chisel) but the concept must have been pretty easy. All they really had to do was take a walk on a fall day using a pathway littered with acorns. These little babies are like greased ball bearings! Throw in a hill of any sort and they'll have you doing the Downhill Hiker Shuffle in no time. By the way that's an advanced dance move I only suggest for use during wedding receptions without any cameras!

The cool thing about the abundance of acorns are the squirrels and chipmunks. These nuts make them crazy! Hummm... wonder if that's where the secondary meaning of "nuts" originates? Who knows ... but what I do know is that they chatter and scamper from tree to tree like I've never seen before. They're busy little critters getting ready for winter ... which, thank goodness, never break into alto harmony like Alvin, Simon and Theodore!

Happy Trails,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Monday, September 27, 2010

And the award goes to...

And the award for WORST PRIVY EVER goes to Connecticut's Caesar Campsite. This little gem was simply out in the open, within view of all tent sites. I've seen this style elsewhere on the trail but those privies were shielded by hillsides, draped tarps or large trees.

Luckily I didn't need to "go" but it wouldn't have mattered anyway since I was the only occupant of the campsite.

Yeesh ... I'm all for roughing but is a little modesty too much to ask for? I think not ...

Rollin on,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Arriving at the falls, which give the village it's name I encountered...

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Yesterday ... A timeline (1)

So... How do I describe yesterday (9/25/10)? Well, I'll do my best with pictures and text but yesterday was one of those "had to be there" days. Hopefully I can get these posts to upload properly from my phone, service is -as usual- a little spotty but I'll do my best so you can read along while scrolling down.

It started out pretty darn good. I got up early and was on the trail quickly. After leaving Brassie Brook Lean-to (which actually had a running brook - unlike "Glen Brook" the night before) I climbed Lion's Head and got a great view ... (pictured above).

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone


After a short 4.6 mile hike I came upon U.S. 41. From that point the town of Salisbury, CT was only a half mile away. The AT Thru Hiker's Companion informed me that hitchhiking was illegal so I kept my hands at my sides and road walked the short distance into town.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone


Once in town I headed to the post office to retrieve some supplies from my bounce box.

Then it was onto the town grocery store where I made a b-line for the deli counter. Yummy ... Turkey and cheese. I felt like I'd won the lottery!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone


After a leisurely lunch I headed back to the trail.

The climb out of Salisbury was nothing to sneeze at but I enjoyed myself as I walked through the fall colors.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Search This Blog...