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.


Steve said...

Hi Shawn, And thanks for posting on my birthday!!! I was actually cleaning up bookmarks and thought I would look at yours one more time - to relive your adventure as well as my summer on the lake in Vermont.
I am sure you think about "it" everyday; I know I would especially when I contemplate the clusterfuck that we are now experiencing. I will be stuck in New Haven this summer, trekking to work everyday and really wondering if it is all worth it. Every other weekend to Lake Dunmore should give me some sense of connection to the earth. I would love to see your garden - I was just assigned a plot in the Winchester-Webster Community Garden and instructed NOT to plant Big Boy tomatoes, they will be stolen. They will be relegated to a container on the balcony! I did want to ask if you took a picture at the halfway marker in Pine Grove Furnace/Michaux State Forest.
Good luck with the wedding - been there, done that.

jimgoogley said...

Hey Shawn...amazing adventures since London of '96. I'd love to do the Trail! I think I walked by you yesterday in Fishtown. It's been 12 years, so I wasn't sure. drop me a line. jburns at uwde dot org. Let me know if my Shawn citing was legitimate.