Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Week in the Wilderness (Part IV)

The Hike

We spent two days on the Appalachian Trail, hiking through thick woods and fording icy streams. After arriving at our campsite the first night and setting up tents, we ran to the stream that bubbled along beside the trail. Wading into the water, we fought chills and shivers and submerged ourselves in the freezing water. There was a series of waterfalls that led down to a big watering hole, and all of us went down there to swim. When the coldness became too much, we crawled out and curled up on the warm rocks, like snakes basking in the sun.

Later that evening, I set off alone down the stream, hopping from rock to rock. I will never be able to describe the feeling of that little expedition--the simple, wild joy of being alone with the trees and rocks and water. A joy so strong I shouted with laughter.

That night we sat around the campfire together and ate burritos straight from the coals. All of us were dirty and smelly, but I found everything fresh and beautiful. Living with nature is so...free. I love not caring if my bare feet are dirty, or if my hair looks funny. It's oddly exciting to take my water bottle and a water purifier, and stroll over to the stream to get a drink. I love hearing the birds and watching the bugs and just being outside. Of course, I am still drenched in suburbia. As I was going to sleep that night (nice and cozy in a one man tent with Wendi), I spotted a Daddy Long Legs crawling up the side of the tent. Gently, I scooped him up and tossed him out. Nestling back down into my sleeping bag, I closed my eyes and--felt tickley, long legs creeping across my bare stomach!

The next morning we cleaned up camp and started hiking again. Although we had to go frustratingly slow, it was an exciting hike--especially the life-threatening parts on the side of a cliff! Halfway through the hike, we stopped at a waterfall that formed a natural water slide. So fun! Why don't I live in the wilderness all the time?

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