18 miles. That's the distance from my front door to two different entrances to the Appalachian Trail. 18 miles to steep climbs, rocks, roots, and solitude. Solitude. I've recently stripped my life to the bone. I have no band, no friends in the immediate area, no hobbies other than writing and running, and I'm looking to the AT to help piece my life back together. It's unnecessary for me to catalog what I've been through in the last 7 months, but it's safe to say that I reached the outer limits of happiness and abject misery, and in the end it left me feeling pretty empty.
Today I ran 6.5 miles on a section of the AT I'd never run or hiked before. It was comforting to not know what was coming next and to just flow. This past Sunday I did a 7 mile run on a stretch of the trail that I know well. She and I used to spend hours there; climbing, eating junk food and Gu, and spilling our secrets. It was always warm and lush and the hours seemed to end far too quickly. The difference between those summer days and now is how the quiet seems to change so swiftly from calming to deeply unsettling. In the summertime there are birds, there are voices echoing on the trail, there is the sound of insects; all sounds that die in the winter months. In the summer there is proof of life and the winter dispenses with that. Recently the sound of winter is what I crave.
NUCLEAR LAKE TO CAT'S ROCK 12/10/2011
ROUTE 55 TO MORGAN STEWART SHELTER 12/13/2011