Independence

There’s something about it, yeah, carrying everything on your back.

Shenandoah

A deer walks up to a stream, fawn shortly behind, tips its head down and sips from the spring. The water is clean and refreshing.

We watch animals and admire and crave the self-sufficiency that they consider normal. And while we wish we could run into the woods naked and survive, that is not possible. Humans evolved to have brains to help them adapt to almost any environment, making us the most versatile thing on earth. We can bundle up or strip down, build shelter, build boats, build flaming warmth. We raise livestock and cultivate land to farm.

But can we mimic animals even just for a few days? Only by backpacking can we do this.

And why do we want to mimic animals, the beast, the untame?

There’s just something about entering woods and existing safely and happily. There’s something about sipping from a stream and eating roots and berries. But truthfully, I don’t know. I don’t know why we the wild is so alluring.

I said it today. I am going to get to Georgia. It is taking me forever, I know. But it is hard and I want to get there. I want to stand on Springer mountain and I want to complete a thru-hike. I want to be one of the few that saw the snow as a gift, not an undefeatable obstacle.

I keep saying, “At some point I have to realize the absurdity of a winter thru-hike.” But so far I have said, “This is absurd,” at least a dozen times.

And yet I keep walking. Maybe its the fact that I have walked too far to go home. Maybe I have unfinished business, goals yet to be accomplished, maturity yet to be reached. I doubt Georgia holds some great knowledge and wisdom, but maybe the time in between here and then does hold such truth.

So I am going to go walk in the woods now.

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