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


  1. What a positive, inspiring ending to your 6 month hike. I have enjoyed your journey and am proud of you for pursuing your dream.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, and I look forward to reading what you blog about next.

    Love and hugs and blessings ~ FlowerLady

  2. I'm so proud of you either way! ...well, as long as you re-enter "normal" on the west coast ;-)

  3. What an incredible journey!!! I have loved following you. As you hiked your trail, I hiked mine. As Lao Tzu says: "a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step." And you went 1700 miles! Holy crap! I agree with flowerlady...keep blogging. You have much wisdom to share. Be gentle with yourself as you re enter "the real world". I hope to see you when you get back to the West coast!


  4. I've enjoyed your journey...thank you!

  5. Yeah! You are a success no matter if you went a day, a month or 6 months. Congratulations on following your dream and your accomplishment. I know you'll be back on the trail the first chance you get. Good luck to getting back to the "real world" and just keep going at your own pace:)

  6. Good Morning Yahtzee... What an "emotional read"...! Bitter sweet I suppose, and selfish on my part, simply because I LOVE reading your blogs !!
    Every step of the way...... you've proven you are stronger than most in every conceivable way ! I've learned so much following you.. your wise words & wisdeom, humor, and commitments ~ All paved the way to where you are today ! I salute you.. raise my glass...and sending great "light" as you realize your next journey ! Hoping to see you in Cali sometime soon ! p.s. I bet Nixon can't wait to see you either !!! (( ♥ )) ! Big hug.. and CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU DID IT !

  7. Congratulations! Your last entry, "What a gift it was," is truly inspirational. The second to the last paragraph really resonates..Boring is a choice ... and so is failure. I believe you accomplished even more that you set out to do, and as each day passes, I predict you will get even more out of this journey. As adults, we continue to grow and learn more, each and every day - thank you for modeling this for all of us. We are blessed to have you in our lives and cannot wait to see you!

    Your family in So Cal

  8. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!! To me, it doesn't matter whether you completed every inch of the trail or not - the fact that you walked 1700 miles is nothing short of spectacular and I suspect it's just the beginning of the amazing things you will do in the "real world." As someone else said, be gentle with yourself as you reenter the world and please keep us posted - I've so enjoyed reading about your adventure so far!

  9. 6 mo. and 1700 mile is a feat few will accomplish in their lifetime. You did an awesome job and stuck it out. Hope to see you on the trail next year. Take care and heal up.

  10. As PINK says in her new song...Looking forward to
    "Raise a Glass" with much to much to reflect upon and so much of this very trail and journey is coming back home with you...we are all so blessed that you are such a warm and giving person - because you will share all of these moments and then some - with the world..yes, world. Because I feel that the AT was your destiny and now I feel that your message is your destiny and I wish you the same determination in spreading it - just like wildflower seeds...all over the earth!
    Go forth fearlessly and speak your truth quietly and clearly and I think you will be shocked by how many people pause to listen and accept what you have to say & share.
    ROCK it Little Lou! I heart you! AOE!

  11. You are an inspiration.

  12. Lori,

    I have truly enjoyed reading your journey as it has progressed. From the writings to the brilliant photos that have illustrated your travels.

    I am so proud of your accomplishments. Thank you so much for sharing.


  13. Lori,
    As someone that can not walk you have made me feel as if I was right there at your side with your description of your journey. Thank you for all the photos and memories of your adventure. God Bless and take care.

  14. Lori... I hope you can find the time to continue on with this blog... from AT to AK!


  15. I was pulling for you, Yahtz!


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