So this isn’t quite going to be the long, leisurely post detailing my activities for the past few days that I envisioned it would be. I don’t have enough time for that tonight. Instead, this is going to be me trying to cram an explanation of why I haven’t written in before my roommate gets back from the shower and wants to go to bed.
It all starts with that hike in New Zealand that we’ve planned. 552 miles of roads, trails, and hard walking. This past weekend we began training. We hiked along a local mountain called Grandfather Mountain on a trail that I still can’t pronounce called Tanawha. It was 13.4 miles long, but the Blue Ridge Parkway (The only road access to the entrance and exit of the trail) was shut down due to weather. We instead parked at roads intersecting with the parkway and hiked to the trailheads, bringing our true total milage for the trip up to about 15 miles. We finished in about 7 hours, which would have been disappointing if we hadn’t been walking through 4-16 inches of snow the whole time.
I have never appreciated how quickly snow can obliterate the familiar like I did when we lost the trail. We had to infer the presence of a footpath thanks to minute variations in the curvature of the mountainside. A few times I worried that we wouldn’t find it again at all.
I also now hate ice with a passion. The number of times I almost fell and had to catch myself on my hands (My forearms still haven’t forgiven me) is a cogent reminder not to underestimate water in its solid form, especially when you have to cross stepping-stones through a stream.
The hike was fun. There are few other words that feel appropriate. When I decided to come to school here at Appalachian State University, many people asked me what outdoorsy activity had drawn me up there. My default response was hiking, because I’d done it in Boy Scouts and generally had enjoyed it. I didn’t even come close to loving it as much as I do now though.
I like the feeling of independence that comes with it. You’re out there surviving on what you have on your back, running under the power of your own body. There’s a certain romance to it that I just love. It really reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, one of my favorite novels ever.
Roommate’s back, so it’s time to sign off. Goodnight Internet.