The Appalacian Trail

Wow, sitting here thinking about it now, I find it difficult to believe that it's completed. Since I was in my early 20's the trail has been haunting me, at every opportunity pulling me east to the Smokey Mountains just to walk a few miles on the AT. Ever since I read, "A Walk Across America" back in the 70's about Peter Jenkins taking that long walk and finding himself and his country, I knew I had to do it someday. I knew I had to thru hike the trail. I also knew I had to go northbound. I had to start close to home at Springer Mountain Georgia, the southern terminus and hike northbound into country that seemed so far away both geographically and culturally. Into New England, where our country was born and onto the remoteness that still is the state of Maine. This was the year, the stars lined up and with a clear concience I began to walk north on Feb. 26th and, in starting that walk i took on the trailname Woodstock and I was never refered to by any other name throughout my journey. I became simply, Woodstock, a hiker. What happened in the next 5 months was beautiful in every way. I walked to find purpose and i found it. I walked to find adventure and it was certainly there. I walked to explore my physical and emotional limits and they were certainly streched on many, many occasions. But mostly I just walked and kept my eyes, ears, heart and soul wide open and by doing that, i discovered something. I found out that there alot of people in this country willing to go out of there way to help a complete stranger. I found out that I really DO NOT need all the clutter in my life. Things really got boiled down to the fine things. It boiled down to what I really need to make me content. Some simple foods, clean water, a dry place to sleep. That's really all I needed. But, ah, the other stuff, well, the sunrises and sunsets, yes. Being the first footsteps on the trail in the morning following a beautiful snowfall, watching a first class lightening and thunder show from the security of your shelter in Pensylvania, well all those things just made me stop and consider why on earth did I get so lucky. When I summited Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus on Aug 11, I was instantly inducted into a family of travelers who's company I will cherish forever. Afamily of people who have trodden the same path, drank from the same streams, wrote in the same shelter journals, toiled up and down the same mountains and took in all the beauty the AT is so willing to share. I became and forever will be an Appalacian Trail thru hiker. Peace to all....Woodstock

1 comment:

kentuckyblue said...

Woodstock! So happy you made it. I heard you got off somewhere in Maine. I couldn't believe it, but it makes everything seem right in the world now that the one I was chasing all the way to Katahdin finished. See you at trail days 2008!

Much love and peace,
Kentucky Blue