Musical interlude: Stairway to Heaven
Today was a good day. No, a great day. I slept in, hit Dunkin Donuts, then went out and hiked five miles, from the trailhead outside Vernon to Wawayanda State Park in Jersey. I absolutely loved the climb. It was steep, it was rocky, it was challenging, it was perfect. The rocks were New Jersey potato rocks, not Pennsylvania knife rocks. That mattered so much. After the climb, the rest of the trail was pretty easy, if very buggy. It gave me a lot of time to think. Yes, a lot of thinking.
Sometimes, on the trail, you have to look behind you to see a white blaze, to make sure you are still on the right path. It has been six weeks (and two days), and tonight I am going to look behind me to check the path. Let’s meander.
I’ve changed/am changing. I can tell that, and I don’t mean just physically, though I am seriously enjoying the fact I’ve lost about 20 pounds. Stepping out of my usual orbit has been wonderful. With every act of kindness from total strangers, some of who I get to meet, some of who I never will, some of the shell of bitter cynicism I’ve been carrying dissolves. That’s the weight loss you can’t see, but I feel it. Cliched as it is, it is slowly restoring my faith.
The focus of the hike has changed, too. At the beginning, I was all ‘miles, miles, miles’. That was all I was thinking about and fretting over – why am I not making more miles, will I be able to finish the hike, etc. I still want to finish, of course, but it doesn’t bother me anymore if I cut a day short to enjoy the company of other hikers, or if I spend a long time at a good view to take it in, or if I take an unexpected zero day. I am enjoying myself much more now since I got out of PA and let myself relax.
So. The path has been twisty and turny, and I can’t see where it ends. It’s taken me through five states – tomorrow I’ll leave NJ for real and move into NY. Right now I am lying on a futon at the hostel, updating my blog while five other hikers are watching some crazy movie in the background.
Did I mention how much I love having lost all this weight? Living the dream!
I hike on.