Saturday, June 06, 2009

Keepin' On Keepin' On

I've been absent from the blogosphere this past week as I struggled up and down some rather imposing mountains in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Nights were spent in first class accomodations like the one on the right.

I'm pleased to announce that in my quest to somehow hike the entire Appalachian Trail, Massachusetts is now completed! That makes eight states done, and five to go. I have partially completed New York, Connecticut, and Vermont, but have not taken a single step in New Hampshire or Maine. Later this year I'd like to put New York and Connecticut in the "win" column.

I'll be 65 next month, and I'd be lying if I told you this was easy. Some days are grueling and seem to never end, with exhaustion waiting to take over when the climbing and descending ceases. Wednesday was like that. The target shelter was 16 miles off, with two big mountains blocking the way. Ten hours of hard work, sometimes on rock faces so steep that hands and feet were needed to scale them. When the day is over, I'm so tired I don't want to eat. But, if I don't eat, I forfeit energy for tomorrow. The food tastes like paste.

People think of Massachusetts and Connecticut as being on the populous East Coast, but most of their population is concentrated in the coastline areas. The western sections of those states are extremely mountainous and thinly populated. Thursday night I had to drive 9 miles in a borrowed car to pick up a weak cell phone signal! The roads constantly curve back and forth as they snake through the mountain valleys. The Appalachian Trail is aptly named: the Appalachian mountains really do continue unabated from Georgia to Maine, and the trail just puts them ahead of you, one at a time, as you walk north.

While I was hiking, the Air France jetliner crashed, Obama made his Cairo speech, and David Carradine became deceased. The "real world" goes on and on. But in the deep woods, the forests and rocks seem timeless and unconcerned about it all. Change is much slower, and totally unemotional. Millions of trees drive their roots into the hard granite, slowly cracking it into sand with the help of the freeze/thaw cycle. I pass by. They take no notice.


ThomasLB said...

I liked this post. :)

Ron Davison said...

Great post.
I find that being in the woods does something for me that I don't feel anywhere else. I used to live in Santa Cruz, CA and would jog the fire trails between classes. It was cathartic and I still miss it. Color me inspired.