There is a trail near my home in New Hampshire. It’s called the Lonesome Lake trail, and it leads up to one of the ATC huts along the Appalachian trail. Around halfway up sits a little swimming hole, around 15 to 20 feet deep. Above the water, sits a small ledge, about 10 feet tall. If you are anything like me, you already know what I’m thinking. Let’s jump off it.
Those were my exact thoughts the first day we hiked that trail with my grandparents. I was eight or so. As many of you can probably relate, the excitement of the idea of flight, was quickly replaced by a sense of fear as I reached the top of the little cliff. I collected myself, and promptly decided to jump, before stopping myself at the last second at least a dozen times. But then, I did.
It’s an odd feeling, when you successfully hit the water that first time. The fear just melts away, it isn’t scary anymore. That is similar to how I feel now, having completed my first couple of days on the trail. I’ve jumped off the cliff, and here I am. The anxiousness is gone.
My last two posts went into the emotional side of this journey, today I’m going to stick to the physical. I have loved almost everything about the last couple of days. The only thing I really miss is my friends at home, other than that, this is everything I want. My pack is heavy, but it feels like it was made for me. The burn in my legs once I reach the top of a tall hill is intoxicating. Cold mountain air in my lungs, fresh filtered spring water in my pack, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.
The weather has been odd, and unfortunatly, was cold enough for the last couple nights to be dangerous. We are currently taking a two day break from the trail with a friend, who we will call Mrs. Angel. The gratitude we all feel towards her can’t be fully described, her hospitality has been fantastic.
I’m looking forward to returning to the trail, back to the quiet. It is truly spectacular. I completely understand that most people can’t take 6 months out of their lives to hike the AT, but I would encourage all of you to find some time to get out in nature, there is always something you can learn out here in the wild.
The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.
President Theodore Roosevelt said that a long time ago, but the truth in those words will never change for me, maybe you can find the same thing out here in the woods. Happy trails.