Monday, September 19, 2011


Two years ago today I made the arduous climb to the summit of Baxter peak on Mt. Katadhin. It was cold and extremely windy. My body was tired but my soul was renewed. As I made the climb down I was lost in a bittersweet reminiscence of the past six months of my life; excited by how my experiences had changed me, and of the new person I was becoming, and sadden by the thought that my journey was now coming to an end. I had no idea of what I was returning to once I stepped off the AT, but I new it would be a life different then the one I had left behind.

Two years later I have come to realize that stepping off Katahdin was not the end of a journey but the beginning of one. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail opened up a door into a world that was truly my own. The road before me was no longer brightly blazed and defined with the expectations of others. It was unmarked and overgrown, left for me to figure out my own way through. I was only beginning to (re)discover who I was and who I wanted to be.

This new path has not been an easy one, but similar to the AT it has thus-far been filled with incredible memories, and of constant lessons that life is what you make it, that attitude is everything, and that life is whispering the way if you stop and sit still long enough to listen. I have learned that for the most part, I was always headed in the right direction even if I didn’t know it.

I have learned that it is always good to have a plan A, plan B, and plan C, but it’s even better to let go of those plans and adapt to what life presents when life doesn’t seem to go as expected. Rather, planning provides a means to mentally prepare for the road ahead by simply pointing me in a direction, and allowing me a means to take those first steps forward. After that, life unfolds and it becomes this dance between myself and it, requiring me to accept, adapt, and constantly readjust in order to move peacefully forward. I have come to understand that although things don’t seem to be going quite as I anticipated, somewhere down the line things will fall into place in a way that I cannot even begin to imagine or comprehend.

I have learned that I have an extraordinarily, everlasting need for self-challenge and adventure, both physically and mentally. I’m not always sure of what this means, or exactly where it comes from, but it always seems to weave its way into my life. It’s that feeling of I don’t know why I need to do this, but I need to do this. There was a time I never really questioned this sense of need I just followed it, and from it good things always resulted. As life progressed new responsibilities that came with becoming an adult entered my life, relationships formed, and competing I don’t know why I need to do this, but I need to do this moments seemed to form as well. For a while I sacrificed some needs for others but a big part of me felt suppressed. Hiking the AT allowed me to reconnect with this sense of self-propelling need for constant challenge and adventure, and made me remember what it felt like to follow those I need to do this moments. It is a part of me that I didn’t even realize I was missing. It was also the part of me that had been screaming to get out. More recently and perhaps more importantly, I have come to realize that this is possibly one of the most important aspects of my inner self and a part of me that I cannot live without adhering to. Yes, life does often present seemingly contradictory I need to do this moments, but with some reflection I am learning that they are simply that, seemingly contradictory.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daniel Boone Scout Trail


"Bees/yellow jackets on the Cragway Trail." Well thank you to the nice person(s) for the warning and saving me a possible shot with an epi-pen and a mouthful of benadryl. The original plan was to hike the Cragway Loop on Grandfather Mountain today, but getting attacked by stinging insects didn't sound like fun. Instead the four of us, Cori, BA, Hershey, and myself, decided to only hike half the loop, taking the Daniel Boone Scout Trail to the Cragway junction then back. IT was a beautiful day with a nice view of Calloway Peak and Boone Fork Bowl at the junction.

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And my Favorite LMAO picture of the day:

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More photo's here.