First, Reflection and Honoring


I spent much of the first days of my Appalachian Trail thru hike reflecting on all that coalesced to allow me the time to embark on this walk. The complex logistics and planning, the incredible network of support from friends, family, neighbors, colleagues.

I took time as I walked to hold in my thoughts and honor each of the people who made it possible for me to be on the trail.

“Just think, you are now walking the same path as Grandma Gatewood, Earl Shaffer, Jennifer Pharr Davis, so many others,” my hiking friend Brian reminded me as we made our way along the trail that first day.

My hiking friends Brian, Janet, and Peter drove me from NY to GA and started on the trail with me for the first week. Brian and Janet are section hikers. Peter thru hiked in 2018 under the trail name lightisgreen.

I thought about all those who have walked the trail before me, those who are walking now, and all who ever will walk the trail.

I wove in variations on mindfulness savoring practice I associate with the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. I took a moment to honor those who freshen the white blazes, who maintain the trails, who cut the clean chainsaw lines and removed a section of tree trunk that fell across the trail.

I looked for possible Trail Trees with trunks and limbs bent out parallel with the ground and then up at a 90° angle perpendicular to the ground. Original woodland trail markers and indicators of a significant area. Before blazes.

“Is that a Trail Tree? Is that a Trail Tree?” I wondered to myself and my hiking friends. Janet told me about a Trail Tree she knew of in NY.

I felt safe camping in the company of my friends. I pushed away thoughts of them leaving in a few days. Over and over I shifted uncertainty anxiety about food and shelter back to the present moment.

My friends are here now. All we have to do for now is keep walking.


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Comments 1

  • Smitty : Apr 23rd

    So you’re an angel in your vocation I’d be your trail angel in CT if I lived closer to the trail Glastonbury is too far but seeing that CT’s where you’re from I’m sure you’ll have support aplenty when you get here (lol) good resolve young lady only one I’ve followed is still going Owen Eigenbrot wonderful writer on the trec he’s in Pennsylvania today posts everyday avg 20a day


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