Beauty and Humility on the Trail
There was an eery silence in the mountains as we walked along. Devastion from the wildfires was all around us. Trees were scarred from being climbed by flames. The soft earth was charred and black. This was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It was as if all life had left the place. Rarely we would hear the occasional bird singing. The stillness in this area could send chills up ones spine.
However, fire is incredible for cleansing an area. It allows for a rebirth. The transformation make take some time, but this area will be beautiful. Given time to recover it will be amazing to see the new life blooming. I hope to return to these areas later to see what becomes of them.
We crossed into North Carolina on the 1st of April. On the 2nd we ended up going to the summit of Standing Indian Mountain even though it was off trail. Had my hiking partner not started up there I might have missed it. I didn’t notice that there was a side trail to the top. At first I wanted to keep going but was thankful that instinct did not win me over. Upon a short, but slightly steep trail we came upon the summit.
Once we reached this peak we happened upon the most beautiful view. Most of our time in Georgia was spent in fog. However, this day there was not a cloud in the sky. This was the only green patch on our path this day as everything else was burnt. Buttercups were growing in the corner of this small green space. It was a beautiful oasis in the middle of devastation. It felt like we had crossed over into a different dimension.
Being at 5,340 ft in elevation it was the highest point we had reached thus far. Below us lay a lake and the mountains of Georgia we had just crossed. It was nothing in comparison to where we currently stood. Being so clear gave us a view that spanned miles upon miles. It was absolutely incredible. We sat for at least 20 minutes in silence taking in the view. Once the silence broke we talked about how amazing it was.
It is the first time I was truly clear minded and focused. I was in awe of how amazing this place was. It made me realize how small I really was. However, we both felt tall standing atop this mountain. It was an incredibly humbling moment. This is the closest thing to Heaven that I have ever experienced. This also came with the realization that I am really doing this. I am hiking the Appalachian Trail and it is amazing.
I cannot express enough gratitude for the kindness that I have been shown. Whether I was handed a burger after a long haul or a piece of fruit by a passerby it has all been amazing. The cold beers I have been handed (whether at 10am or 6pm) have comforted me. It is not about what a person has offered me, but their genuine concern for hikers that I have loved. While food is always amazing, it is their intentions that mean the world to me.
These people not only offer aid, but they refuse to recieve any. I tried to help carry things down to a firepit for some, but they told me to rest. They refused my help, because they were there for me and not the other way around. The AT is an amazing community that I am proud to be a part of. If any of them are reading this I hope they understand how deeply grateful I am for their hospitality.
Pay it Forward
I am incredibly excited to be able to offer trail magic upon completion of my thru-hike. I long for the day that I can make the day of some weary person after a long day of hiking. True kindness is when you do for others despite their inability to repay you. It is a selfless act that requires minimal effort, but can make someone’s day.
Beyond the trail, I will strive to make a difference in someone’s day every day. A kind word alone can change someone’s entire life. You’d be surprised what type of positive influence you can be to others. I have seen that simple, random acts of kindness can make the world of difference. Happiness among the human race is truly as simple as a few kind words
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