My Dad's leaving in about one week to hike the Appalachian Trail (a.k.a. The AT). The trail has been measured as 2,180 miles and runs from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mount Katahdin in N. central Maine. He planned to walk it last year and got 8 days in before a bone spur in his heel stopped him in his tracks. This year has been a year of healing and he's decided (again) to hike the trail. I am very proud of him and imagine that the experience may be profound (profoundly difficult, profoundly beautiful, profoundly boring... who knows but those who've walked the trail?).
|hiking with Dad and Erin ca. 1988|
During the summer when I was growing up, I used to hike little sections of the AT, day hikes, with my Dad. One of his two side-kicks on the trail (my twin sister Erin the other), we spent glorious hours in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I remember the smells of earth, pine, mountain springs, I remember the routes of repeat hikes, the overlooks, the waterfalls, and the wildlife. We would ride home in Dad's truck, scuffed, dirty, tired and happy. When in college, I ventured on longer hikes and sometimes several days on the AT. I no longer live on the East coast, but I often conjure memories of those beautiful, soulful places.
I'm imagining my Dad in those places. My heart is full of love and wishes for health and fulfillment for him on this trip.
I sent this tiny drawing to him today as a talisman for my wishes and my love during his long walk.