Recovery on the Appalachian Trail
We headed out anticipating the moisture. The weather called for periods of rain spaced several hours apart. “Surely they’ll be a window,” I said to myself. Optimistic, we began our journey. We made the short drive to the Appalachian Trail (AT) access point just West of Frederick. The Annapolis Rock trail is considered the most popular day hike within Maryland’s portion of the AT thanks to the breathtaking view provided by the aforementioned destination. The hike itself is 4.5 miles round trip and is considered moderately difficult with a fairly challenging incline within the first quarter mile.
We exited our vehicles and began the walk. The rain had begun to fall but was still only a light sprinkle. We joked of the bears and rattlesnakes we were certain to encounter along our route.
As we neared the first incline, Mother Nature made it very clear that the window we had hoped for would not come.
“We’re in it now. No use turning back.”
We began our climb upward, the rain relentlessly beating down on us.
“What did we get ourselves into?”
This thought filled all of our minds. The path ahead would be uncomfortable and challenging but we accepted our position, buckled down, and pushed forward.
The torrential downpour added a difficulty to the trail none of us were prepared for. Small ponds had formed on the trail forcing us to find alternative ways to proceed. With each step, the weight of our sodden clothes and shoes pulled down on us as we searched for an inkling of traction. Still, we pushed forward, knowing the reward was far greater than the risk.
“It’s just up ahead!”
I had been saying that for the past mile and a half. The novelty of it had long worn off and the joke no longer existed. Despite this, quitting or turning around was not an option. We had invested far too much to give up now. We would continue forward until we reached our destination. This was for certain.
We rounded the final bend and saw our destination up ahead. We traversed the final few ponds barricading our path and stepped onto the towering rock face.
As we stood staring outwards, looking down at the tops of the trees below, the present moment was all that existed. The grasp of our past had loosened and the future was merely a story we were telling ourselves. We realized that the mountain that lies ahead of us will be challenging, with many ups and down. We accept this challenge and will face it passionately, head-on.
Our minds are clear. Our souls uplifted. We are triumphant.