The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost." ~ Dante

Shelter. Near Springer Mountain, the Southern terminis for the Apalachain Trail.

We are getting pretty close to a "three day hike". This trip was a little bit about seeing what the official camp sites look like, and getting eyes on a trail "shelter". It's pretty nice ... (the privy was at a discreet distance, just down the hill). We stopped there for maybe twenty minutes and visited with several other hikers. One couple had accidentally taken a picture of a bobcat just fifteen minutes before arriving at the shelter. He said he was taking a picture of something else when he saw it. I asked him if it came up to about his friends knee, and he said, no... it kept it's distance ... he looked at me warily, as though I was out there smokin' crack! Too funny ... I wish you coulda seen his face. I was wondering about the relative size of the cat, not its social skills!
V says she is definitely not sleeping outside where there are spiders and snakes and bobcats ... and all these crazy hikers. Dad said she is not experienced enough to decide not to try something at least once ... Frankly, I would rather she not participate in the first round of sleep outs.
I moved out of ear shot as it became a contest of wills. The trail feels safe to me ... It feels like a lot of people with a lot of discretionary income out sorta roughing it with super cool nano stoves and filtration systems ... mostly college kids, scout troops, and families like ours ... camera happy mom, disgruntled pre-teen, and a dad with a handheld GPS.
We are figuring out what to carry in. Water is the primary consideration ... Next week we plan to drink water drawn from a stream ... and cleaned ... we'll try to tap in to some Dansani. My husband is handling the details on that. So far we have brought our own water ... and food. Substanence isn't a big deal on a day trip. I have devised a little first aid kit ... and this week went heavy on the deep woods OFF ... I spent the day in an impermeable aerosol activated bubble ... all insect sounds ceased as I approached. Even the cricket in my waistband would have been impressed had cell service been available. We lost the Starbucks app right about where I could hear airline traffic inbound ATL making power adjustments for arrival on the 27 runways. While they descended, we climbed ... up to 3000'MSL ... first by vehicle as slow as ten mph on the single lane loose gravel "road" stuck wily nily to the planet like a strand of errant ramen noodle. There were tree-studded sheer drop offs on either and sometimes both sides ... kinda got my attention.
I wonder what the average equipment cost each set of these tracks represents ... this used to be Cherokee country ... my mind wanders back and forth through time ... what stories the trees might tell were they given to more then just the faintest rustlings ... these strategically placed branches are a welcome sight ...
My hiking buddies both cooled their feet in this stream ... Husband scooped up sand, sifting for a fleck of the gold that marched the Cherokee off this land and over to the fields of black gold later discovered in Oklahoma ... did their children splash in this very stream ... did their eyes dance with mischief while the rocks rebounded laughter?

I kept my shoes laced, but did sit risking tender flesh to whatever might not be repelled.
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... Uh huh ... two cans, one for each hand ... .
The DEET, whatever noxious toxin that may be ... well, I didn't spray my face, but I can still taste it tongue is sorta numb, but ... pretty sure only my nails will need a clear coat this week!

Beautiful trail ...

... sporting blisters on the tops of my feet. I haven't had blisters on my feet since forth grade when I spent every spare moment trying to roller skate myself airborne ... with varying degrees of success. These blisters are probably going to be just as worth it. Memory making. Little miss slept all the way home. She didn't hear me say I'd like to ride some roller coasters next weekend (that slippery winding road wound me up) ... She has never been to Six Flags. Her daddy said she would definitely not like that ... He did have the good grace to harumph in recognition when I asked him if she was experienced enough to decide that without first trying it. This hiking may be enough out of the box for us! I like it more then I imagined I would.

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