Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Trails


I have always wondered what it would be like to spend months outside on some kind of journey. Perhaps it is because I have romanticised Bilbo and Frodo’s journeys around Middle Earth. I could do without the Orcs and wizards, not to mention Sauron the dark lord of Mordor of course.

I have been on a weeks backpacking trip before and although I wasn’t very fond of it at the time, the memories are fun. I suspect that any such trip is like that. While you are in the midst of your adventure, you are too focused to enjoy it properly and the shitty parts are just too fresh. No one likes fresh shit.
 
Every now and then, I start to think about the Appalachian Trail. It is 2,180 miles long and passes through 14 states and the norm is to hike it from the south (Georgia) to the north (Maine). Thru hikers will take anywhere from six to nine months to complete the trail. Many people will do the trail over a period of years. Either way, it is a massive accomplishment.

Most thru hikers begin the trip because of some major upheaval in their lives, death of a loved one, loss of job, divorce or some kind of breakdown. They are looking for something different to do with their lives, something that will allow them to spend time alone with themselves. These people generally take on “trail names” and lose the person they were before the hike. It must be an amazing experience.

I may be too old for this kind of foolishness, I know I’m too far out of shape and thankfully, my life is just in wonderful shape, thank you very much. I would like to do it though. I read first hand accounts and there is a wonderful book by Bill Bryson called “A Walk in The Woods” that he recounts his experiences on the Appalachian Trail. Pick it up and give it a read, you will get a good laugh and if your life takes a trip into the shitter, you will have a direction to take.

We are very adaptable and can survive in all sorts of inclement weather. When you are walking in the rain, at first it is uncomfortable, but after a couple of hours it just becomes the norm. There is no way to keep dry, so you just try to keep wet and warm. This is much easier when it is the summer of course, but it is possible to survive wet and cold weather. Trust me.

I am thinking about the trail again and plan on reading some of the journals that people have kept and I guess now there is a digital journal or two that we can follow. Hopefully that will be enough to satisfy me. It will be fun. I’ll include a couple of links, but if there is any interest at all, you will find your way to the trail.



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