The guidebook said that in Massachusetts we should have no trouble finding water.
After a post tropical storm dropped between 2-5 inches of rain, we had a couple beautiful but puddly days, followed by two more days of rain. Today we basically walked through a 20 mile long puddle, which varied from sole to mid-calf depth. Here’s a typical stretch of trail:
Ooh, and an occasional boardwalk! Which usually ends in a deep, sandy pool of muck:
I think it’s safe to say that at no point in this state will my shoes be dry.
But there’s a simplicity here, in that no matter the circumstances, pleasant or tedious, there’s really only one solution: to walk. To walk north on the path that has been made through the woods. The path that hundreds of volunteers clear of debris (from winter, from spring, from Sandy) for our leisure. To follow the white blazes that are painted on trees and sometimes on the rocks to show the way. Walk up, walk down, walk around, walk and slip, but walk.
We pass through stretches where the blazes are faded and hard to discern. There’s a whitish lichen, a fool’s blaze, that sneakily resembles the painted rectangles when it grows at eye level. We get weather, we get moods. We check each other for ticks every night, and try to make it more romantic than routine. (Incidentally, Permethrin is amazing stuff!) We show up at a camping spot and find that the host has made us an indoor bed and a hot dinner, and we melt into puddles of thankfulness. But the next day, there is still only one thing to do: walk.
The old saw “One step at a time” has never been more useful. Also, “How important is it?” and “Easy does it.” I carry stuff, try not to lose or break it. I hang my clothes to dry after a night of rain and wind, try again when I make a mistake, try not to beat myself up about the mistakes (and they are legion). So far I’ve only butt-planted twice. But mud washes off, and there’s no shortage of streams in which to dunk a wet pair of shorts while still wearing them.
Singleness of purpose is not always easy, but it’s simple. I am not always happy when I walk, but I wake up every day ready to walk some more. Walk on!