Thanks Bill Murray. Remember the movie “Stripes”? When the Army recruits (a who’s who of alumni from Second City) lost their DI, Sgt. Hulka, they were doomed to recycle back to day one of basic training. Instead, the comedy troupe in fatigues found an out of the way building and trained themselves.
Since college it has been camped there in the back of my head, The Appalachian Trail. 2200 miles of ups and downs running from Springer Mountain in north Georgia to a windswept mountain in nowhere Maine. A challenge undertaken by a couple of thousand hikers each year carrying all they need on their back and marching on. Only about a quarter of them make it all he way. Injury and attitude thin the herd. It’s wilderness but there are wooden shelters every few miles where hikers can get out of the rain and feed the mice that inhabit them. Some choose to pack a lightweight tent, and by lightweight I mean OUNCES. Remember those green heavy canvas wall tents from scouts? No more.
So today was the start of week 2 of “getting the old man healthy again”. We’ve been walking on the Saucon Rail Trail in Coopersburg and other local walking venues. Even our Maltzu, Annie, is getting into the act. But she’s almost 13 now so she gets carried part of the way.
The Pinnacle. A rocky overlook on the AT between Hamburg and Hawk Mountain in SE PA. My son and I hiked to the summit many years ago and I’ve hiked on the lower portions of the trail many times. But today it was solo. I took lots of snacks and lots of water. The day pack I carried got lighter as the day went on so there’s that. But IT’S UPHILL.
Some of it is like this. A Jeep trail that is wide and well marked.
But a lot of it is like this, or steeper. Why didn’t I do this when I was younger? Well, there was work and The Child Bride and kids and work and a mortgage. Sigh.
But along the way there were views like this…
And bubbling streams tumbling down THE HILLSIDE I was trudging up. But 5 miles of mostly up ended at the overlook…
The rolling farmland of Berks and Lehigh Counties. The area where much of my first novel, “Sink Rate”, is set.
I added a rock to the cairn (it has grown since last I was here) and had a quiet lunch chatting with a section hiker from Lancaster. I was passed on the return by “Pacemaker”, a thru hiker with a Brit accent who only slowed long enough for a few quick words. Hence his “trail name”.
We shall see how the training goes and maybe there will be a thru hike planned in the next couple of years. Great fodder for another book.