Way back - before I had Rick, before Robert and I married, before I moved to Florida - I hiked on weekends. I hiked with people from work, from church, friends from high school. My favorite hiking buddy was Judy.
Judy was the great outdoorswoman in our group of friends. She could hike. She could camp. She could fix anything. And she did it all matter-of-factly. My uncles would have worshipped at her feet if she would have let them. She was their ultimate woman — gorgeous, nice, funny, outdoorsy, loved sports and knew the names of various tools and how to use them.
I had never been hiking until Judy had me tramp a few miles with her up to Humpback Rocks. Actually it wasn’t a few miles, but it certainly felt like it. I hadn’t realized that hiking involved scrambling up steep slippery hills. Nor did I realize that the panoramas from those heights would be more spectacular than the same ones viewed from roadside.
I was hooked. I bought a pack, hiking boots, canteens, water filters, etc. Whenever I could, I went hiking. The weather was always cooler on the top of the mountain than down in the valley. The air was breathable. The sounds were different. The pace was slower.
Almost 20 years ago I vowed that one day I’d hike the entire Appalachian Trail — either as a thru-hiker or as a section hiker. Either way would be acceptable, just as long as I finished. it. And now that I’m going to turn yet another year older, now that another year has flown by without me doing anything towards achieving that goal.
This year is different.