Retiring the Red Lipstick for Six Months on Trail

I’ve washed off what remains of the red lipstick that has become my signature. Today will be the last night for a while, and my last night at home in my cozy bed before we haul our load to Georgia and dazzle our eyes with the sight of Amicalola.

It has been a grueling and rewarding year, preparing and working toward this dream. Every day my regulars at the gym where I work ask me, “How close is it?” And I tell them “______ days!”

Tonight mom made me homemade meatloaf with brussels sprouts and sweet potato casserole.

I have eaten very poorly this week, trying to put on a pound or two before the trail, but bodies certainly do not like it when you throw them out of their groove. Thus, I decided to keep this one simple.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as a home-cooked meal. Especially from my mama. And honestly, we don’t do that much anymore. We’re always busy working and keeping the home flowing.

However, today was calming. Mom almost set off the alarm a few times with the rolls, but she succeeded, and the results melted my happy hiker heart.

It’s funny, although it’s sad to leave. It’s only six months. And this last month has only brought me closer to those I love. When I knew I was going away for a while, I began to appreciate the little things, like watching mom cook, or paint her room, or iron clothes. We didn’t really do anything special together during that time. Just sat. Just talked.

Some days this week, my last full week off from everything before the trail, I have sat and listened to her hum ’80s songs. We love ’80s songs.

Some days I have sat at the table while she was washing dishes. I giggled and she asked, “What?” And I happily answered that I had nothing to do. But I wasn’t bored.

There have been a lot of inquiries into why I’m pursuing this or whether I think I can. My answer is that I wouldn’t if I didn’t know I could.

I don’t look like the kind of gal that hikes the AT. I look like the kind of girl that loves getting dolled up and attends plays and reads too many books (this is not possible) over unreasonably priced tea in skirts she bought from an overpriced online store because it had galaxy print on it.

I am guilty of all these things.

But there is also a pleasure in simplicity. I’m looking for both in the woods. I can be both, and I wish to immerse my life with both types of experiences. I want to feel enriched.

I’m not saying I’m looking for enlightenment, but hey, if it hits me, I’m fine with that.

This is my once in a lifetime, my six months free card, my spiritual journey, my hike.

One reason I love the mountains is because they consistently teach me who I’m supposed to be, even if it’s not who I thought I wanted to be.

I haven’t even hit trail and they’ve brought me closer to people I’ve loved, they’ve given me something to look forward to, eased my anxieties, and they’ve consistently let me be me and always welcomed me with open branches and beautiful things that show me love.

They don’t require anything than that I be the best, strongest, most confident and resourceful version of myself. They make me into a poet and an adventurer and a philosopher and an inventor. I am everything out there.

So I’m hiking this hike because I can. Because I know me. And I want others to know me and to love and learn about the mountains. And that hike begins tomorrow.

My stepdad gave me a card as a going-away thought like he does for all major life events, and in it he wrote a quotation from Joseph John Dunn that read, “Happiness is never an accident. It is the prize we get when we choose wisely from Life’s great stories.”

So here is to a chapter in my great story. Here is to the happiness of pursuit.

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Comments 1

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    Emily : Mar 10th

    This was a beautifully written post! Much love!

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