Miles walked today: at least 8, possibly closer to 9
What we saw today: deer, deer, and more deer. In fact, I can hear one foraging just down the slope from where I am sitting. Two does we’re eating about 30 feet from me earlier this afternoon.
An AT shelter is a mile north of here, and it has no water. Given that I, alone, have consumed at least 100 ounces today, and that does not include the water in my coffee and oatmeal, I am fine staying at a campground where clean, filtered water to a a hundred feet from me.
And I fell again today. On a smooth patch of trail, no rocks, no obstacles. Just my ankle popping and collapsing under me. More pain. More limping.
Thankfully, the campground also has a camp store that sells ice so I spent a solid hour icing both of my ankles today.
I am sitting at the far end of the campground from the store. At the store is a wooden bench where, a year ago, I sobbed as I called my Beloved and asked him to pick up Owl Singer and me.
I called my Beloved today from the peak of Bearfence Mountain and told him I was not coming home today.
Bearfence Mountain has a special spur Trail that enables people to hike to a series of rocks where the “scrambling” begins. Note, doing this with hurt ankles is not high on the recommended list.
At the same time, I perched on these jagged rocks and surveyed a quiet world where, for five minutes, drama and cruelty and politics were not the ballast of my days. It was me and Owl Singer and God and the sun and the wind and a beautiful blue sky.
It was me recognizing that all my fears and insecurities were horrific abstractions that distracted me from pursuing all that I can do, all that I was meant to do.
I am not invincible. I am very frail, as my clumsiness proves. After this incredible experience of sitting on the throne of the Earth, I returned to my humble origins by falling into the mud and then perching on a fallen (no pun intended) tree and fighting with myself and my need to cry.
Wow is me. I can’t take a step without falling.
But I can. Daily, I have been taking thousands of steps and not falling. One mis-step is not my definition. It can be a mark in my catalog of mistakes.
But my mistakes are not always my failures.
Today, we sat on the edge of the Trail, just before beginning the ascent of Hazeltop Mountain. We snacked on carbs and protein to give our bodies the required energy.
A doe stepped from the forest and stood on the path, watching us. Briefly, she stood still in her sunbeam, her ears perched forward as she scrutinized us for threats. We talked softly to her, did not rise or move suddenly.
She drifted completely on to the path, walked towards us, nibbling at the undergrowth. She paused when she was about twenty feet from us, glanced our way, and then stepped back into the woods.