Monday, September 29, 2014
Today is my summitversary! One year ago I stood on top of Katahdin! While it marks the last mountain of a 2185 mile journey, it also marks the first day of a new way of life for me. One can't be out in nature for six months and expect not to change. Yes, I saw a lot of amazing views. I was surrounded by incredible beauty non stop. Even while in "the green tunnel" (a term referring to hiking for miles and miles under the canopy of trees with no wide open views), but it wasn't just the beauty of the landscape around me! The people I met were so beautiful! It seems that on the trail away from society everyone was more sincere, more honest, more open and intimate, almost like their true nature was coming out and it was for the better. But that doesn't explain all those Trail Angels! They amazed me the most! I had read about trail magic before hiking but to experience the totally unexpected kindness and generosity of so many people is still to this day astounding! Strangers gave me food, drinks, and rides! People gave me their numbers in case I needed help up the trail, they offered to come and find me. One guy (stranger at the time, friend now) hiked steak and wine up a mountain and fed us at the end of a day's climb, another (section hiker, now friend) gave me his iPhone when my phone died so I could continue my journal and take pictures and be able to call home. Total strangers invited us into their homes to shower, do laundry and sleep in a bed for a night. Sometimes they weren't total strangers (well they were but) they were a friend of a friend who lived along the trail and had offered a meal and a night in town and were waiting at the trailhead to take us home with them. Another time during a week of extreme hot weather a section hiker I had met months earlier (and now a dear friend) invited us to stay with him and insisted we stay the duration of the heat wave. You might say to yourself, he met you earlier on the trail and knew you were ok and it's pretty easy to make room for a person. There were four of us some whom he'd never met! We were smelly, dirty, non deodorant using people plus my golden retriever who sheds everywhere! Can you imagine inviting us into your home for as long as we wanted and leaving to go to work while a bunch of hikers are in your home? Can you imagine telling your spouse that you were inviting a bunch of strangers home! Yet that's exactly what happened! Time and time again I was given so much kindness and love. So much generosity! I met Trail Angels who year after year would set up camp near the trail and feed all the hikers who passed by for a week or two. They brought in fresh food daily. Think about that for a second. Think about the cost. Think about the time spent. What do they gain? There are actually Trail Angels who with their vehicle drive from trail town to trail town up and down the trail helping people! Isn't that amazing! I'm not trying to brag about the free stuff at all. I'm trying to point out the many amazing people there are in this world! There are people who go around helping other people all the time! There are still in this day and age, people out there who see a person in need and just help them immediately! There are people who use up their time off work (vacation time) to search out people who need fed and spend their own money to feed them! How could someone experience all of this and not change? I'm not saying that I'm a better person now, I hope I but definitely my perspective has changed. I want to see beauty everyday! I want to see beautiful people everyday! And I want to be a beautiful person! Thank you everyone who helped me along the way!