|Appalachian Trail -- somewhere in the Pennsylvania woods.|
|Richard hiking south.|
So hiking with Richard on the Appalachian Trail, even if only for a 10-mile stretch, felt wonderful.
|Getting ready to sleep on the floor of the woods.|
But we arrived at the Birch Run shelter to a happy group of future-friends. After drying off and finally getting the alcohol stove lit, we boiled some water and cooked some homemade Mexican rice concoction I made for my thru-hike three years prior. Hiking food, like most prepared meals, is capable of lasting decades if left undisturbed. It tasted just like I remember: salty, cheesy and filling. Yum!
A small group of us kept the other hikers awake long past dark chatting and getting to know each other better. I have made lasting friends thanks to the A.T. Like I said, it is full of people for being an unassuming trail through the woods. And now I have three more.
I love the A.T. because it rejuvenates me. Never a fan of cities -- all the more now that I live in one -- I forget how much they drain from me. I love slipping under the cover of the woods where all things green hide me from the world of combustion engines, television sets and my to-do list.
|The pack I took on my 2009 thru-hike packed for a weekend trip.|
As we head back to our own combustion engine-powered car to transport us back to the city, my head is full of wonderful weekend wandering memories of our Appalachian Trail out-and-back that provide a vehicle for escape no matter where I am.