Big news! Zippy and I have joined the AT Class of 2013. We have been saving and planning and training and dreaming for the better part of three years, and now we are as ready as we’ll ever be to hike from Georgia to Maine, from Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin. It’s called the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, or the AT, and thousands of pilgrims have trod the 2,100 mile footpath since 1948. We are quitting our excellent jobs, saying goodbye to our wonderful friends and community, and walking.
On the first of February, we will haul our belongings south and east in a Beverly Hillbillies style caravan, stash everything somewhere, hug our families, wait for the thaw… and go. It’s exciting and a little scary, which typically means it’s the next right way to go.
I have already hiked about 300 miles of the trail, mostly in Virginia. The green tunnel, the crush of azaleas, the blessing of water crossings, the lumpy campsites, the broken sandals, the spirit of the people gone before, the line of energy. One can walk back and forth between seasons, descending into spring blossoms, climbing back into closed buds. It will be our home for four or five months. And as we walk, my heart will be imagining a home ahead, where the seasons will cycle in place. A settling place, from which to venture, and to which to return, from adventures to come.
On the Trail, I am going to carry a tiny notepad in my backpack and do something on one page each day. Maybe it’ll be a sketch or a few words. Maybe it’ll be mostly raindrop crinkles and peanut buttery fingerprints. Maybe it will be one long, blank prayer. At the end, I may sew the pages together and re-create the trail in paper, an interior map.
I’ll also keep an online journal during the hike. I’ll post it here on Sideways Gaze, and probably also on an established trail journal website. Do subscribe if you’d like to follow along. I would love to have you with me.