>> December 18, 2007
Written by HeMan & DeTour - March 31, 2002
When asked by most people what it is that we enjoy the most about being out in the woods and hiking the trail, our first answer is always the passion and freedom that we receive from being in the wilderness. David Brill said it best when he wrote this about being on the A.T, "I believe I have finally found my niche, and it’s here in the woods. I thrive here. I feel so right here. And I’ve begun to realize that I have become a resident of the wilderness. I no longer leave society to visit the woods. Rather, I leave the woods to visit society. When I’m in town, I feel uprooted and often suffer pangs of separation. I constantly wonder what I am missing." So, yes we really do enjoy the wilderness aspect of this journey but now its time to talk about those fellow hikers who have become part of our lives. We had first said before starting the trail that we were not interested in interacting with everyone for several reasons. However, we have found that the new friends we have met and will continue to meet brighten our spirits in many ways. They break up the monotony of everyday by sharing their own stories and experiences from their lives as well as providing support and giving us yet another reason to continue northward.
Some days it feels like we are on a tread mill walking and walking, making our way to Maine. Each day when walking along the trail we come to a shelter where we will stay for the night and find new hikers to meet or ones that we know from previous encounters, and the night turns into a campfire chat. We are all out there on the trail together hiking in the same direction. We may take a day off and a hiker that we met 30 miles back may catch up or they may take a day off and we may catch up to them. It is when we meet new hikers that we have realized that stereotyping and first impressions really color our views. We must give everyone a chance and really talk to them before we judge them. When walking the streets of downtown we, as hikers, get stared at, people lean out of their car windows and snap photos,and still others just think we are street bums. We say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover!! In our little world on the A.T. we have heard rumors about people being rude or grumpy, or just plain ole’ mean. Needless to say, the chain of gossip floods the trail about people on the trail or in towns. These are all judgments, but remember we are all humans, and need to give one another a chance! We interact with many different people each day and are blessed to have met so many wonderful individuals by giving them the time of day and in turn we have learned valuable lessons of life from them.
The world is full of interesting people everywhere but the only way to fully understand this is to have the opportunity to meet and interact with different individuals every day. We have found that everyone along the trail has at least one piece of wisdom that we did not have before hand and in just the five weeks that we have been on the trail we have created new ideals for ourselves. Ideals that may have never had the chance to cross our paths. Stories are shared and life lessons are learned everyday that we set another foot towards Katahdin.
We all exist day to day,
Meeting new folks along the way.
First impressions and stereotypes color our view,
Learning new life lessons, we feel anew.
Don’t judge a book by its cover,
You may learn a lot if you just discover.
On the trail we have become a family of sorts,
Good friends thrown together from all different ports,
During the hike or in office life don’t ever underestimate the power of a glance,
We all must live together, and meet by chance.
Picture 1: Cooking lunch
Picture 2: HeMan and Wu-Li at NOC
Picture 3: A young buck at Spence Field Shelter in the Smokies
Picture 4: An above ground moldering privy (a composting system used to help break down human waste).