AUGUST 16. Climbing the mountains on the Appalachian Trail in Maine invites me to stay present to each moment. If I pay attention, I notice that each rock is unique, in color, shape, pattern, texture. Each step is a “pedestrian decision” as described in Don’t Die in the Mountains. I reflect on how walking this path is a dance of agility and focus. I don’t believe that treadmill walking would be good offtrail training for Appalachian Trail walking. Perhaps court sports like basketball or tennis could work. My favorite, of course would be trail walking!
The mountain paths in this part of Maine are rocky, rooty, muddy, and steep, winding through lush and expansive forests alive with bird songs, squirrel chatter, and wind rush. Thick blankets of moss wrap the rocks in green. Pine, spruce, and hemlock needles pad the trail for long stretches and freshen the air. Deep, black, organic soil mixes with water steeped brown from leaf tannins to make sensuous mud pudding to fastidiously avoid or playfully plop into. A rainbow of color from flowers, fruits, leaves, bark, even the rocks, treats my vision to a feast. Alive with wonder and gratitude, I embrace my inner athlete and walk on!