Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments – Part 2
To travel, to experience and learn: that is to live. – Tenzing Norgay
Last night I posted the first part of this blog, Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments – Part 1
Tonight I continue with some of the more amazing moments that I experienced during my Appalachian Trail hiking adventure. I think one thing that may surprise people as they read these posts is how much the most amazing parts of the hike involved people more than the mountains. This should really demonstrate how truly amazing people are on the trail. Scenery is magnificent, stretching yourself spectacular and being in nature is magnificent, but it truly is, and this really surprised me, your fellow hikers that make an Appalachian Trail hike so damn special.
Social media is an amazing tool, but it’s really the face-to-face interaction that makes a long-term impact. ~ Felicia Day
As someone who runs a blog and is currently working on a book about my AT experience I was already heavily involved in social media pertaining to the trail before the hike started. Twitter was particularly fertile and I’d been talking to a number of folks I had hoped to meet on the trail. One of the coolest days I had was the first time this happened. Backtrack and I were hiking together and I was up ahead of him on the trail. Hanley came along and asked him if he was hiking alone and he said, “no I’m hiking with Rev Kane.” She immediately came up the trail where I was eating on a rock, and as I’m sitting there I see this woman and she says in a very demanding voice, “what’s your trail name?.” When I answered she said, “I’m Hanley, from Twitter.” It was an amazing reunion, someone from the ether, suddenly there on the trail, it was pretty special and led to this picture.
This would end up happening a number of times with folks like Mistress Coco and a PsychHikes who had actually met my best friend in Atlanta before he hit the trail, but the first time is almost the most amazing.
Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity. ~ Stephen Covey
One of my most special moments on the trail is also one of the most bittersweet. It starts with spending the night at Overmountain Shelter which is an absolutely beautiful shelter. It was a fun night, I got to hang out with a really fun group of scouts.
The shelter was great, I had the lower level to myself and it’s a beautiful spot to sleep. In the morning there was a storm coming up the valley that I had hoped to beat over the hill. What I didn’t know was that the humps where a couple of miles of balds, so instead of being in the trees during the storm I was completely in the open. As a result I was walking in the open in a rainstorm with 45 mile an hour winds that ended up soaking me to the bone. As the trail turned into a muddy stream I started walking the edges. As I went to put my foot down on a tuft of grass, the wind caught my foot and I caught the edge of the tuft. My foot turned and I fell, wrenching my knee as I spun to the ground, instant pain and I knew I’d hurt my knee just not how badly. I wanted to lay there but the fact was at about 45 degrees, being soaked and with a heavy wind blowing, hypothermia was a very real risk if I didn’t get out of the open soon.
So I got up, and of course the fog moved in and the hills seemed to go forever. At one point I began singing at the top of my lungs like a madman and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. I kept imagining some poor hiker out in the fog hearing me and wondering if he/she was going mad. I was soaked and cold and hurt and annoyed and yet I was happy. I made the crest of the second hump and got down into the trees. Once I was out of the wind and could take a break and eat a little something I felt better, my knee was hurting but stopping wasn’t an option, I had a reservation at Mountain Harbour B&B at the bottom of the hill. Arriving at Mountain Harbour I have to say, for the very first time on the trail I felt like a badass thru-hiker. The irony of course, the injury was the beginning of the end for my thru-hike.
The back end of this moment was that my friend Awesome had been telling me for over a 100 miles that the breakfast at Mountain Harbour was the best on the trail. He was wrong, it might be the best breakfast I’ve ever had.
Needless to say that breakfast started a very happy day my friends even with a bad knee. Tomorrow night the final part of this post. Have a happy day ~ Rev Kane
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