A little bit of trail magic can do wonders for the psyche, and overall well-being of a hiker. In 2014, a small group of friends, and I, decided to head up to the Appalachian Trail to provide some trail magic. We arrived with the cover of darkness and set up camp on a forest service road, not far from Blacksburg, VA. As usual, the following ensues. Whiskey. Beer. Music. Laughter. Camaraderie.
Two of my friends, Warpzilla and El Perro, had previously thru-hiked in 2007 and 2011, respectively. There were many late nights/early mornings spent discussing each of their hikes. Each one having a different motivation, timetable and experience, but both always ending with the same phrase…”best decision I’ve ever made,” to which I always followed with “I’m doing it one day.” Those words have always been uttered with serious intent, but never followed through upon.
For two days we sat in the blazing sun cooking hamburgers and hotdogs, handing out beer and water. Each hiker we met, like my friends, had a different story. Each was from a different geographic/economic/cultural background. Each with their own motivations. Each inspiring me further. I never imagined that our own trail magic would be working on me.
That night, with drunken eyes and a full heart, I looked at Warp and Perro and proclaimed my intent of thru-hiking the following year. We talked about it over the next week and decided on a date. I was finally able to change my phrase from “I am doing it one day” to “I am leaving on April 12th.” Now, 32 days away from taking the first steps of my journey, I am anxious and utterly ecstatic.
“The true measure of a man is not what he dreams, but what he aspires to be; a dream is nothing without action. Whether one fails or succeeds is irrelevant; all that matters is that there was motion in his life. That alone affects the world.” – Mike Norton
It’s time to wander north.