A Letter to the Smokies
There have been few moments as satisfying as putting my permit in the box as I completed the section of the trail that runs through Great Smoky Mountain National Park. For nine days you threw everything you had at me, and I think I passed your test with colors. Maybe not flying colors, but definitely a solid B.
You taught me not to be afraid of the unknown.
To embrace life’s challenges, because you never know just how awesome they may turn out. (Check out my previous blog for the whole tale!)
You taught me there are all definitions of beauty.
Of course, the Smokies are full of majestic views, but don’t forget to stop and take in the beauty of emerald green mosses backed by a misty and completely socked-in sky.
You taught me patience.
You showed me that my legs are strong enough to tackle a 20-mile day, but my feet aren’t quite there yet, so only do so when absolutely necessary.
You taught me to remember to reconnect occasionally.
You taught me there’s time to stop and chat with day hikers. You never know whose life you might change with a few words of encouragement.
You reminded me to stay humble.
Although my personality may seem like a force of nature, I can still get pushed right into a mountainside with ease when the freezing rain comes in sideways.
Most of all, you taught me to stop and reflect.
Yes, there are still many miles before I reach Katahdin. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t celebrate every step along the way. I’m going to be on this trail much longer than I will be on top of Mt. Katahdin, after all.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is:
Thank you, Smokies!
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