I’ve been reading Hiking Through which is a great book about a man who lost his wife, quit his job, and set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. I so want to do that (sans the losing my wife part).
I have always viewed hiking the Appalachian Trail as a journey I probably will never be able to take. But I’d like to. I love hiking and camping but have never been able to partake much since my family hates it. Oh, they like pitching a massive tent in a state park campsite as long as we have sleeping pads, entertainment, and can get close to the bathrooms. We also can’t “rough it” too long – one night, maybe two max. My wife doesn’t care for it much at all, but has done it for me and the kids. Maybe someday.
The worst camping I’ve endured was during my Army days. I was stationed in Ft Sill, Oklahoma during the summer. I don’t think they believe in shade in that state. I’m not sure if there is a religious opposition to it or an aversion to trees, but the sun has free reign there. And reign it does. In the summer it feels like a preview to hell. The kind of place you don’t stay in (at least in that season). You just soldier through.
Regardless of whether we are hiking or not, we are all on a journey. We move, we grow, we push on, we persevere. Everyone’s journey necessarily involves some hard times – they can’t be avoided, unfortunately. In the book, the author talked about being on top of a mountain in Virginia when the roughest storm he had ever seen surprised him. He grabbed onto a tree to wait it out and literally thought he might die. Hopefully, your hard time isn’t that bad. But it might be that bad to you.
I can’t know the emotional depth of your bad time and you can’t know mine. Every one is unique to the person and situation. I know one thing, the only way to get from Georgia to Maine is to keep walking on.
I stumbled on that Churchill gem recently and love it. I don’t know of another quote so small yet so profound.
If I plop down and focus on the misery of my surroundings, they will engulf me in their flames. I have to keep going.
I am hiking through my hell. If you haven’t seen one yet, you most likely will. They have a way of sneaking up on you. When it gets hot, I encourage you to pick up your pack and keep going. Camping out in hell does no one any good!
This is an atypically somber post from me. I feel compelled, therefore, to leave you with my own pearl of wisdom:
It is okay to roast a wienie over hell’s fire, just make sure you have a long stick.