Appalachian Trail: Where the Magic Happens

Just a few days shy of my twenty-seventh birthday, I decided to go for a magical walk.
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Beginning just above the Mason-Dixon line in Pen Mar, PA, Shane and I walked 41 miles to Harper’s Ferry, WV on the Appalachian Trail. What better way to welcome year 27?
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Having no experience backpacking myself (Shane has done this before — he went to Philmont with his scout troop 15 years ago), this was a new adventure for me. I wanted to dive into backpacking head-first, and I think this trip accomplished just that.

We packed light – something I’ve had to learn to do with my cross-country admissions travel (8 days, one carry-on). I carried 35 pounds and Shane carried closer to 50. I’ll share more about what we packed and how we packed it in another post.
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This trek changed me. We were only on the trail for four days, but in that time, I learned how to carry everything I need, pack up each day leaving no trace at our campsite, how to start a fire, how to sustain energy to last throughout a day-long hike, how to look and listen, and most importantly, how to accept the trail–and everything that happens on it–at face value.

I’m eager to complete another section of the AT soon, but even more, I’m excited to incorporate the lessons learned on the trail into my every day life. How can the magic of trail life be lived each day?

In the month since I’ve been off the trail, I find myself worrying less. On the trail, worrying resulted in nothing productive, and that’s true off trail, too.

I find myself enjoying each activity daily, not rushing from one thing to the next.

I’ve started getting up with the sun, even on non-running days, to enjoy the beauty of the morning and the extra few moments I get to reflect, enjoy extra sunshine or rain drops.

I’ve started eating smaller quantities, and eating smaller portions more often, to sustain my energy.

I’ve started drinking more water, especially in the morning just after waking.

The magic of the trail doesn’t have to stay on the trail. Instead, it can be shared in every day life (or, at least in those in-between AT trek times).
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