The Appalachian Trail goes through fourteen states and is over 2100 miles long. The trail begins at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finishes at Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
For me, the allure of hiking the Appalachian Trail has lasted a lifetime.
Not sure why. I am certain sure I would not enjoy carrying a heavy pack, going for days without a shower, and honestly…just giving up the things we take for granted. I have only known one person who has thru-hiked. I loved his story, and yet, I learned so much more about the why’s behind the journey while talking with him. It is different for everyone who sets foot on the trail. For some, it is to figure out what is next in life, others to reevaluate life, and still others just love the solitude. Personally, I don’t think they are bothered with what they might miss.
Instead, there is a journey up ahead, and a chance to ponder life on their mind.
I get it.
I’m not much for bucket lists, and yet, the drive this week along the Shenandoahs, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Smoky Mountains was exactly that. We hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail in these southern states, and my respect for what the hikers endure, is genuine. A hillside in a distance would have taken me a day, and from here they have 1900 miles to go. Yes, nothing but respect, and a bit of envy too.
Our journey looked a little different then theirs. I hope you will enjoy it our way.
Because guess what? We also found serendipity. You see we thought our scenic ride would be just that. Instead we discovered The Trail takes hikers through natural, cultural, and historical treasures.
I did not expect the charming towns, regional folk art, bluegrass musicians, or the old settlements, along the way, and amidst the scenery. It made everything extra.
This trip was planned solely around my birthday, and to our delight, we learned it was the off-season for another week. It was quiet everywhere we went, but I admit, I am grateful the leaves decided to tease us.
By this time, the seasons are changing and the thru-hikers should be arriving in Maine. The goal is to arrive before the snow, and as they exit the trail, I wonder if they found what they were looking for. I can only hope they found serendipity like we did.
No matter. There are no illusions that you are forever changed after a journey like that.
Then again…I am too.
We stopped at milepost 59 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was purposeful. Today, on this road called life, I walk into milestone 59. And it’s ok. It too is a new season, and like every age, I will LOVE this one too. EVERY age teaches us something: productivity, growth, education, humor, responsibility, tests of faith, luck, love, character building, and the list goes on, doesn’t it?
Cheers to wisdom, and mile marker 59.
Wind Kisses, Donna