As a native New Englander (I’d say Mainer, but I was born in New Hampster and didn’t move up here until I was a few months old), I have always had a special place in my heart for the Appalachian Trail.
I think that comes from being at the very end of the darn thing.
As an autism parent, it’s always been Beth’s and my Plan B. Plan A of course is for Jacob to venture forth unto the world and take his place amongst all the other kids who leave their parents home with their empty nest. Just in case that doesn’t work, and Jake becomes our long-term roommate, we figured what better way to usher in this new chapter of our lives than to fly to Georgia and walk home? Gabe and Liv will likely seek secondary education, and we’ll be left with Jake. We’ll be in our mid-40s, not too old to attempt a 2,100+ mile hike. At least I hope not.
I love the thought of taking 5-6 months off from the real world and really putting myself (and probably my marriage) to the test.
A dear friend of mine, Nancy A. Moscone, recommended that I read A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson.
I was looking forward to a blow-by-blow account of Bill’s adventures. I was disappointed. I got some of that, but it was mingled with quite a bit of science/American history, which I didn’t mind, but also a growing sense of disdain for the authorities who have, in Bill’s opinion, mismanaged the AT and the flora and fauna along it’s meandering self. I was a bit disheartened when Bill and his sidekick Katz (SPOILER ALERT!!) quit just north of Monson, in the 100 Mile Wilderness. I was really (with narcissistic anticipation) excited to hear about how Maine’s terrain compared to that of the lower 12 states along the AT. I figure, after a lifetime of hiking Baxter, that a walk through Virginia must be child’s play.
If you’re looking for an interesting read, this book will offer you a little bit of everything. I’m glad to have read it. Now on to All The Blue Eyed Angels, by Jen Blood.
There were some great quotes in the book. A few of my favorites:
- “Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old.”
- “What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die of course. Literally s**t myself lifeless.”
- “Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot. A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.”
- “I wanted to quit and to do this forever, sleep in a bed and in a tent, see what was over the next hill and never see a hill again. All of this all at once, every moment, on the trail or off.”
- “I hung up again and looked at Katz. “What is it with this town? I’ve blown more intelligent life into a handkerchief.”
- “Jesus, I smell like Jeffrey Dahmer’s refrigerator.”
Oh, and if you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend in the Millinocket area, check out the Trail’s End Festival, Sept 12-14.