HIKING vs NAPPING WHY NOT BOTH
Hello everyone, I trust you all have been having a great summer. If not, drop me a message and I will send you some encouragement. Things have been great on this end. The weather has been phenomenal and now, here in Maine, the little biting suckers have tapered off. I haven't needed to douse myself with eau de Maine's summer's fragrance - DEET.
Sorry again, It's been over a month since my last post - I sound like I am going to confession. I do hope you forgive me and stick with me, knowing I eventually will show back up. On my list of things to do - you know I like lists - I added, schedule regular post times. I have a mixed personality type, so even I confuse myself.
If you have ever taken one of those personality tests, you know there are four main types of personalities. Most people have a dominant personality and a second main type. Not me, I scored equally on three of them and almost nothing on the fourth type. How does that happen? No wonder, I can never seem to make up my mind which direction I want to go in. For those of you who personally know me, the area I scored the least in, was the trait about passiveness/introvert. Not surprising! And, I am not sure what this all has to do with today's title, but that's where my mind went.
Back to an adventure. But if you ask my hubby, every day with me is an adventure no matter what we are doing. Our last escapade was a hike in the 100-Mile Wilderness on the Appalachian Trail with a dear friend, Ryan Leighton, producer of WALKING HOME and his Father-in-law and Brother-in-law. The three of them plan a yearly Father's Day hike. This year it was postponed til July and since Bruce and I live kind of close to where they chose, Ryan invited us to go.
Roles were reversed this time. I shuttled hikers. I was invited to hike also, but since I have been nursing a bad hip this summer I didn't want to do two full days of hiking, so I volunteered to drop them off at the beginning trailhead and drive around to the end point, do an extraction and take us all back to our overnight camp site. On Saturday morning of July 30, I dropped the four men off in Monson where they hiked north on the Appalachian Trail. I drove around to Wilson Falls trailhead, parked the car at the day use area and hiked a blue-blazed trail to a junction of the AT near the top of Little Wilson Falls.
It was a short leisurely hike of 1.2 miles. That was just fine for me. I relaxed at the top of the falls chatting with a group of hikers I passed on the way in. It's a small world. Sometimes I am recognized by people who have seen the Appalachian Trail documentary WALKING HOME. This was the first time I was recognized by a gal who follows this blog. Since I can't find my notes of that trip, I can't remember her name. A good reason to do regular timely posts of my adventures and life's happenings. Another coincidence was she also worked for LLBean but at the flagship store. I worked at the outlet store in Bangor, Maine.
While we were chatting at the falls, a southbound AT thru-hiker approached and I abruptly stopped our conversation saying, "Sorry, I need to go to work!" It wasn't actually work. See, I had a purpose. I carried in a beverage cooler sling filled with cold sodas - Moxie, and homemade pumpkin chip whoopie pies for thru-hikers. Just a little way to give back to the trail community that supported me while I was out there.
This man, looked worn and beaten down and almost agitated that I stopped him, until I said, "Would you like a treat?" I don't think I ever saw a persons countenance change so quickly. He dropped his pack and we found a log to sit on. Within seconds he was sharing his story with me. That's what I love so much about the Appalachian Trail, connections are made so quickly, walls and barriers crumble, and strangers become friends almost instantly.
As we talked, it became apparent why he seemed so full of pain and anguish. I asked him if I could pray with him. Even though I have added a devotional to my list of published titles, this is not a behavior I have done often or have ever been comfortable doing. But that day it was effortless, like I wasn't in control and without hesitation I put my hand on him and prayed. I truly felt a power flow from me that I had never experienced before. When we were done he thanked me for the treats, we hugged and he was on his way.
I turned back to see if my new friends where still there and when I did, they all seemed to be in awe. I asked, "What's up?" The lady I first met (I wish I could remember her name), said, "That was so awesome! The way that man, went from looking so worn and down-trodden to light-hearted was amazing. Do you do that often?
I thought she meant bring treats and I told her whenever I can I like to feed hikers. She explained, that she meant do I pray often with hikers. I said, "No. but something felt right about doing it. I have in the past but I don't like to be all up in one's face about it, plus I have never felt comfortable doing it. It needs to come organically." Well that day it was organic.
They moseyed on but I stayed at the falls. I was waiting for my crew to hike their seven miles. While I love hiking, I love taking naps and there is no better place to take a nap then in a hammock in the woods. So I strung my tent next to the falls, but not in the way of any other hikers. I crawled in and was lulled to la-la-land by the water's murmurs and creatures stirring in the forest.
The next thing I heard was Ryan's voice followed by the rest of the crew and my hubby bringing up the rear. They rested by the falls after their hot hike and I packed away my nest. Then we all headed back out the way I came in.
We ended the evening at our campsite with home-cooked food, brews (for the guys), dessert, and a fire. I decided to add a first of such things to my bucket list. I slept in a hammock overnight. I have always wanted to do it but didn't own the right set up. But with no rain in the forecast I decided to sleep in my day setup. It was marvelous. I watched stars glitter through the canopy, and woke to a gentle breeze on my face in the morning.
While this hike will go down as one to be remembered. Nothing grand took place. It was a simple journey with amazing friends and I will never forget the way it felt to help that man with nothing more than a treat, a few kind words, and a prayer. It truly is the little things in life that make a difference.
PS - For the crew and thru-hiker I met, if you read this, please message me and remind me your names.