Years ago I read Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. Right then and there a seed was planted that I would someday hike The Appalachian Trail and see a red skunk. I longed to see a red skunk.
Recently, about a couple of months ago, I was browsing through my favorite bookstore in Chicago,Women and Children First, and I happened upon a new release titled Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I read the jacket flap and the brief snippet of her adventure hiking The Pacific Crest Trail. In this snippet the one epic moment she portrayed was when she was probably eight days away from any kind of civilization or human contact atop a very high craggy mountain. She had been walking fast and furious, and stopped to take her hiking boots off to soak her blazing feet in a mountain stream. While sitting there, lo and behold she dropped one of the boots over the rocky edge into the abyss! After a few moments' panic, what did she do next? She tossed the other one after it! Needless to say, I read her book cover to cover in about an hour, followed by several other memoirs portraying women taking that solitary hike of throusands of miles. Now I am insatiable.
I made a plan. I will be 60 in the autumn of 2013. So from now until then, as I navigate my Saturn Return, I will be working on getting in the best shape I've ever been in in my life, and then come spring of 2014, I will begin my mission to conquer one of the three trekking trails. Rather than a through trek, I see myself taking another year and a half completing it in sections. Rather than six months on the trail with a pack strapped to my back, I see several one month sections. For me, this is what will work. I have yet to decide which trail: The Appalachian Trail, The Pacific Crest Trail or The Continental Divide Scenic Trail because there is a lot to be considered about each.
Oh, but I humbly take on this task. Oh. So. Humbly. I have so much work to do to get ready. Every weekend I head out hoofing it up and over some local trail. Sometimes I take the dog, but always I take my hand-carved walking stick (a gift from Mike), my SPF sunhat, my camera of course, some water and snacks, and a million prayers in my day pack.
And then I hit the trail with intention.
Hope and intention.
And a formulating plan.