Monday, March 30, 2009
A few months back, I met with Matthewski, a veteran AT hiker I spent time with in Virginia. He warned me that the year anniversary would be a heady one. Well, here it is. Hard to believe it was a whole year ago since I walked onto the Approach Trail, headed up Springer Mountain. Even harder to believe that it took the better part of this past year to then walk to Mount Katahdin. I finally visited the AT a month or so ago, when Elizabeth and I met up with Zen at a cabin in Maryland that the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club rents out. We climbed up the ridge behind the cabin on a blue blaze trail, with me following behind Zen, staring at his pack and boots as I had done for so many months. At the top we saw the first white blaze any of us had seen since last October. Lots of emotions, but I think the dominant one was happiness that the AT is still there. That's the most amazing thing about it really: that it actually does exist, this little footpath that runs through our collective backyard, available for anyone who needs an escape. A month ago I received an email from a friend of a friend of Elizabeth's, who was planning his own thru-hike starting in March. Very glad to know the cycle continues. Lots has passed since leaving the trail. I rebuilt my kitchen (almost done!) and planted a small garden out back. Elizabeth and I have been preparing for our wedding in May. I returned to work in November, but was laid off two weeks ago, and am now trying my hand at freelance work. But I still think about last year's adventure at least once a day. In celebration of today's anniversary, I'm taking the train to Harrisburg. I will cab to the spot I skipped last July, when I came home to Philly early and surprised Elizabeth for Independence Day. It will be nice to see my other home once again.