Week One – Spring Training in Maryland
“It’s the fans that need spring training. You gotta get ’em interested. Wake ’em up and let ’em know that their season is coming, the good times are gonna roll.” Harry Caray
Spring Training in Maryland
Mr. Rook has been calling Maryland: Spring training for Team Ohio (Our new name on the trail). The state is a training ground to get us ready for the rest of the Appalachian Trail (AT). I think of Maryland as a movie trailer of what is to come on the AT: steep climbs for fantastic views, boulder jumping in the unexpected heat, steep climbs down at the end of the day, gentle pine needle paths. The only thing missing is orchestrated music — think John Williams (Star Wars) or Howard Shore (Lord of the Ring). Bottom line, if you want to get ready for the AT you need to come to Maryland.
Opening Night Weather Alert
Opening night began with Mr. Rook’s emergency weather radio went off several times with sounds and lights. The whole shelter heard the alert: HIGH WINDS with a message that included not being in the woods (now that was a little difficult). That night, we and our Ed Garvey hiking friends listened to the wind whistles pushing the trees hard enough for them to groan; and sadly for some their limbs cracked and fell down to the forest floor.
Crossing Interstate 70 was a realization moment. I have seen many hikers do the truck honking signal from the bridge. When several truckers honked, my throat tightened up and tears began running down my cheek. These were happy tears, but I was actually doing my dream. Then I cried all the way to camp. Mr. Rook consoled me by setting up the tent.
Moldering Pit Toilets
Maryland seems to be very progressive when it comes to moldering pit toilets. Gold star to them. Toilet users after they have done their business, sprinkle provided saw dust or leaves over top. I found the saw dust ones were less smelly.
The AT is for everyone.
We have stopped to talk with several folks out doing day hikes. They have reinforced that the AT is for everyone. The AT isn’t for just thru hikers. “More people need to get out and experience the green.” I have to agree the AT has something for everyone…including places to take a picnic lunch and places to soak your feet in a cold stream. For me, the AT is allowing me to discover the names of wild flowers.
We zeroed at Soolah Hoops. Soolah is a teacher, folk artist, and hoop instructor. While we were there, Soolah was getting ready to teach Pysanky, Ukrainian egg decorations. The funds she raises from this class goes directly to World Central Kitchen. She uses her art to bring something positive into the world and a means of spreading joy.
Staying at her home/hostel reminded me of the pictures of Aminah Robinson’s home. Soolah’s walls and floors are painted with her Ukrainian folk art.
Soolah left the corporate world to focus on art. She stated that art and what art brings to people allows everyone to show up as their authentic self. “If each of us were our artistic authentic self…we can bring more joy into the world. The world needs more joy.”
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