MUCH BETTER SPIRITS

Not quite the CT/NY border
Mile 1,445

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Hewn - steps leading up to the top of Bear Mountain, NY.

Just a short distance from the Connecticut border, I lay on my sleeping pad in a shelter, where the night time view looks upon a small town, only a sprinkling of lights in the valley. As I drift further north, the smaller communities near the trail will grow smaller and smaller, and the measure of mountains, greater and greater.

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Mom and dad, ready to wish me on my way north.

A few mornings ago, I said goodbye to my parents and began the ascent up to Perkins Tower and Bear Mountain where one of the most magnificently created segments of trail exist. 800 hand-hewn steps have been carved, and then laid into place by machinery.

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A masterpiece in trail engineering.

As I hiked to the summit, with an elevation of 1,305 feet, I had the vistas overlooking New York City and the Hudson River all to myself. I am so grateful to have a life where mountains and hiking preoccupy my attention, and not the hustle of the cities over yonder. I’m also grateful that I took the time, and a few days off, to spend with my parents, who were born and raised in NYC. I’m glad that when I set back out for the first time, that I phoned home to get picked up again, for one last night with them before setting my eyes back on Maine. In retrospect, I can see that last week brought out alot of emotion, but at the same time it gave me the perspective and tools to unravel the negative and unbecoming self-talk that I fell foot too. The trail has the power to heal, and for a number of hikers, it offers the opportunity for catharsis. Although I am still seeking inner peace, I feel that much closer, and I feel free from burden once again, optimistic on the miles ahead, and proud to be a hiker walking the lengths of these three legendary trails. I will continue north, practicing meditation and yoga daily, but also the tools taught in the audiobook I listened to recently, called Beyond Willpower. If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety or grief, I highly recommend it.

It feels good to have regained my groove again as I hiked past serpentine rock walls so iconic of the area. It felt good to feel my lungs take big breaths of air in (I think I mentioned, but maybe forgot, but I had a chiropractic appt to relieve the compression and tightness we hikers get in our back, neck and chest). It felt good to hike until the last morsel of light and then to wake up before sunrise, and begin what would amount to an accomplishing 30 mile day. And I feel energized and eager for tomorrow’s miles, which will reign in a new state.

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I write with honesty, and I write with my heart on display because it’s not always about the pretty flowers, or the songbirds, or the really cool beautiful rocks. I know the rocks are beautiful. I have polarized sunglasses. I write instead about whatever might help describe what my eyes see, but also what it feels like to be out here and walking toward a distant horizon. It’s a bizarre notion to get on a trail and walk it’s 2,189 mile length when you think about how much easier it could be to drive, fly or even bike. But it’s worth it.

6 thoughts on “MUCH BETTER SPIRITS

  1. I loved reading this post! Downloaded Beyond Willpower to start listening to tomorrow. Keep it up! It soothes me to know there are hikers on journeys right now where there is peace. Somehow, it’s slows my chaotic world down just a bit to stop and think of your journey.

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  2. I’m proud of you for taking care of yourself. Catharsis is rarely easy, but it sure does a great job of cleansing emotional, spiritual and, yes, even physical toxins allowing us to regain pure vision. Glad you found that again. Peace.

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  3. You can’t hear your followers clapping and cheering for you, but we are. It’s your journey. Just know that we, your fans are fortunate to have what you share with us. Here’s hoping you sense all the positive energy being sent in your direction.

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