Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"Over the hills and through the woods to nobody's house we go!" This is a quick post to serve notice that I will leave Montgomery tomorrow to again hike the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. It looks like after a year of drought, we will have rain most days while we are hiking. My compadres on this trip will be Joel Plake and his brother Jeff. I have hiked with Joel a little but will be getting to know Jeff on this trip. It will be fun to explore the psyche of brothers for a week. It is amazing how quickly the masks of societal behavior disappear when you are sweating profusely all day, don't have access to a shower for a week, dig your own toilet, and carry your house, food, kitchen appliances, wardrobe, and groceries on your back. Exhaustion also breeds honesty. Honesty sometimes hurts feelings. But at the end, the adventure has allowed you to come to know another person at a level that many who call themselves life-long friends never realize. I love that part of backpacking. The men I have hiked with over the years can say anything in the world to me now without fearing that I may be offended. I am not embarrassed to give a bear hug to Dennis Fonville even if he looks like a mafia hit man. Jim Naylor is just "Natum" to me and sarcasm is the order of the day. Joe McClary (with whom I have shared both hiking and kayaking adventures) has shared deep feelings about future plans and spiritual growth because we have a connection most never experience. And my brother, Keith, who started it all with a ridiculous, hair-brained idea of hiking the very section we are hiking for the second time this week, is like--a brother to me. Keith had the vision and made the plans for the first trip when we did not know what we were doing. I was scared to death. The night before we hit the trail, we sat in the floor of a rented cabin with a raging storm outside--including terrible lightning (I had not thought about lightning while camping until then)--and sorted through at least 3000 pounds of equipment and food trying to decide what we really needed to carry for 7 days. Now, I just throw some stuff in a backpack and start walking. When I return, I will share some lessons I have learned from backpacking. Whether there will be pictures is undecided even now.