I woke before sunrise again with intentions of hiking as far as possible.I could see a little girl running down trail in the morning sun. I felt as if I were chasing behind, trying to keep up with myself, a self that had long been forgotten. Returning to places you went as a kid has this way of making ghosts of the past and present. It was vividly obvious to me that I was now returning to myself after years of forgetting.
It’s funny when you are reminded of another distant world. Little sounds, smells, the laughter of two small children, birds chirping in the early spring, the smell of pine needles cooking in the afternoon sun; flowers that are lost to time and season, found again each year. I wonder where I left myself along the way. Where did that person go? Do I disappear within my lifestyle? Always changing, but at the core I emerge the same person, seemingly unchanged by all these experiences.
Smiling through it all, little leaves unravel and unfurl their small bodies. The forest erupts with an explosion of new lives, regardless of the toxins… in spite of the struggle they emerge strong. This life drives each step, one foot in front of the other. The mountains I climb are driven by a flow that I hope never to lose my connection to.
I wandered into the gap that led to Franklin as a shuttle pulled up from town to drop off hikers and off the bus came a hoard of people. I jumped right in with them and started hiking behind Chewy. I ended up walking the next month with Chewy and Sam. That day I walked my first twenty mile day to Cold Spring Shelter. It was a beautiful spring day complete with Easter egg trail magic at the lookout tower.Poor roadrunner also hiked a long day because he took a wrong turn, then left his phone at the furthest point of the wrong turn. That night I camped with the Tramily and Sam introduced me to the infamous “Ram Bomb” which is composed of ramen noodles, peanut butter wrapped in a tortilla.
I met a lot of great people on my hike, but Sam is one of the best friends I made on trail. We hiked the next 400 miles together almost step for step.