Archive For: Appalachian Trail

Stop seeking and ye shall find

One of my goals when I originally set out on this journey was to take a LOT of pictures. Photography has always been one of my passions, but as my skill (and the technology) improves, so does the passion. Why else would I carry a good 15 lbs of extra photo equipment in my pack … especially since 35-40 lbs is the recommended TOTAL weight for such an endeavor? This extra weight no doubt contributed to my lack of success in becoming Hiker Extraordinaire, but only a little.

Part of the extra weight was a hard drive, to store all the evidencephotos. By the time I got sidetracked to Ohio, I had about 4000 (yep … thousand) pictures on that hard drive. Unfortunately, due to the constant, unplanned uprooting of my life at the time … the hard drive got … misplaced.

As one might expect, I was a bit devastated by this. I had access to copies of many of the photos, but the originals … let’s just say my character grew three times that day. In a way it seemed I had invalidated a few months of my life. But ya can’t change what ya can’t change.

In the past few weeks, I have been upgrading my photo site, to make it more functional, add more photos, and add the capacity to (gasp) sell said photos (had to be done). Despite my “loss”, I still had a couple of thousand pics to sort through and upload … the vast majority NOT on the site.

It turns out … 2 years later … that I in fact did NOT lose most of those photos. I … surprisingly … did the smart thing and actually backed up the back up drive, without even remembering I did it. I may have lost a few photos, but the vast majority were actually hiding in plain site right here on the computer I picked up in my travels. Most of these photos are now available on the photo site (or soon will be).

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A random image from the re-found photos.

It just goes to show you that if you let things go, they might just come back to you.

P.S. All of the original photos form this site are available on the photo site. You can even BUY them if you feel so inclined … but either way they are often higher quality versions than displayed here. Swing on over and take a look.

Journey’s end?

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

-T.S. Eliot

I am a wanderer. This is not something new. I can’t honesty say that I ‘memba my first great exploration as I left the birth canal … but I suspect I was pretty excited about it. My earliest memory (technically my second earliest memory) is actually of a man in a big, bulky white suit jumping down a ladder creating a puff of dust … and to this day many will say it never happened. Whether it DID or not, does not matter. Nor does it matter if I actually remember seeing that, or it is just something I manufactured for myself, for that image has in many ways shaped who I am today. The irony of my attempted wanderings is they have taken me on great adventures, only to find me right back where I started from, wondering what actually happened, and more importantly … what’s next.

That is where I am now.

The best way to explore life is to ... well ... explore life.

The best way to explore life is to … well … explore life.

I started this last adventure, not truly realizing until this very moment that I was not truly STARTING anything but just continuing, only to find myself right back in my old cave. But somehow it is more profound this time. Or maybe the contrast is sharper. The last few years of my life have been extremely epiphonious (Real word? Maybe not, but it applies.) Especially the months around my “hike”. I am back here, trying to absorb all that I have learned about myself; about humanity in general; about what is important and what is just part of the great drama known as human life. It has left me with more questions than answers … the biggest being, “What do I do now?” There is so much more of the world to explore, both physically AND metaphysically, yet we live in a culture where such exploration is reserved for the extremely wealthy or the outcasts. Otherwise one is not behaving as one should … defined by those who would control the masses and supported by said controlled masses. So now I am in limbo, spending my days in vast amounts of thumb twiddling in between going walkies with Brown Dog.

I have to admit, this is not all that productive on any front.

I do not wish to stop exploring the world … which is to say exploring LIFE. But I can’t find it in myself to squeeze back into a box that I never respected in the first place … and respect even less now as our culture slips into what to me is somnambulance. So I wait here, hoping for a path to follow, knowing all to well that waiting rarely gets one anywhere. I need to create it myself.

So me, tell me … what’s next?

Walking on

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Lao Tzu
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Once again it has been a long while since I have dared put my ongoing journey into the weak vessel that is written language. Photography is a better method of sharing for me, but sometimes it too does not relay what needs to be relayed. Anyhoo, as happens when time passes, much change has come into my life. Paths past have been left and/or revisited, while paths future still live in the nebulous land called Possibility. Companions have moved on with their own journeys, which for many now means a separation of ways … though our paths may cross again. Such is the wonder of the land that I once again am heading towards.

Though I did not complete the Appalachian Trail as a Through-Hiker, there is no doubt that it has changed not only my view of life, but how I live it. The experiences I had there and around it; the people who I met on it … the journey so far has helped shape who I am becoming and where my next steps will take me. The irony of this adventure is that much of the journey has me staying put in one place for indeterminate lengths of time. Right now I am back at what I guess I can call my home base, the “attic” of my mom’s house. While here I need to start repairing some of the inadvertent damage my exploration of parts unknown caused, nurturing the seeds that have been planted along the way, and regrouping for the next part of The Grand Adventure.

One of the potential seeds planted would have me joining a fellow explorer, known on the A.T. as EZ Rock, as he does a documentary in Colorado. This is a photographer’s dream, and I seem to more and more be calling myself a photographer. But there are a few stumbling blocks (as usual) that I need to … well … stumble through.

The biggest challenges are a lack of functional equipment, and the transport of my newest hiking partner, none other than the famous(?) Brown Dog. To that end, a new gofundme campaign has been started:

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More importantly, since four-legged companions seem to be discriminated against in the travel world, I need a method of getting myself and Brown Dog from eastern Massachusetts to somewhere in Colorado. Volunteers, suggestions, and/or donations would be most welcome!! Spread the word and maybe I’ll have a chance. And since I know that four-legged companions get way more attention than scruffy middle-aged men, here is a cute pic of Brown Dog:

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MA 02324 41.964741, -70.966568 My Training Camp

This time I took a left

It has now been over a year since I began this … you know, I am not quite sure what to call it anymore.

Hmmmm

It started off as an adventure. Gradually it morphed in walk-about. Then it shifted into a whole new realm … maybe the world of dreams. But as a I ramble about this, I am clarifying for myself. What I am doing is simply LIVING LIFE.

Finally.

That said, part of the lack of posting about life recently is being too busy living it, part of it is living said life in the woods far from any communications capabilities other than smoke signals. Fortunately, I am momentarily pretending to be civilized, so time for a bit of an update. Team Idiot finally escaped the dangerous jungles of suburban Cleveland, managing to make it all the way to the safety of the Spiritual Way Station known as Damascus, VA. Unfortunately, the spiritual world is both of light AND shadow. It seems this past winter shadow seeped in deep, and instead of the bright greeting we were hoping to find, we were instead met with the worst of the human spirit. Apparently free and happy spirits are not welcome to the spiteful spirits that actually try to dominate this otherwise beautiful haven.

But I digress. Back in part of the heart of Appalachia, the team intends to hang here until the Bacchanalian Fest known as Trail Days is over, then decide where to wander to next. Gonna find a place to sit down, do artsy stuff, sell said artsy stuff, hopefully rendering financial issues less of a P.I.T.A.  I will personally try to actually finish one or three of the ever growing number of projects I keep creating.

That was an awful lot of words to get to my ultimate point, that I have gone and started yet ANOTHER blog, kind of spin-off from this blog. Our newest member of Team Idiot is Brown Dog, who has left the city for the first time to explore the wonders of nature. It’s a work in project, but check out …

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF BROWN DOG.

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The Tale Goes On … #1000Speak

How do legends become legends? What makes deeds great enough that they need to be shared across the land? Is it the actions that make the hero? Or is being a character of legend something we are born with? I suppose it pays to have a good advertising team. It’s all about spin.

I would love to share the tale of a legendary character here. I would love to give the exciting details of his journey, a journey like no other. Yes I would love to share such an exciting tale, but sadly I can only work with what I have. THIS particular story is just about lil ole me. Or more specifically, some recent adventures of mine.

“Who,” one might reasonably ask, “ARE you?”

I guess that might be a good place to begin.

These are the first words I wrote as I began turning this grand journey I am on into a book. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of me setting on this path, and ironically I was at a loss on how to start this post. But it suddenly dawned on me that particular beginning is a good place to start.

Every morning the story should start that way.

We are all writing the story of our lives. Who we are is key to that story, the very plot of it even. Thus we are the heroes of our own story. But the beauty of every story is they are actually parts of a greater story … the Human Story. Together we are writing the Greatest Story Ever Told, sure to be a Cosmic Best Seller. Each chapter we write of our own lives becomes just another detail in The Ultimate Novel, the Book of Time Itself.

I have spent a year on this particular series of chapters … I have spent a lifetime; maybe even many lifetimes. This is the story I took up as I cried my first cry, and it will be the story that continues as I sigh out my last … for there is no true beginning or end, just new chapters.

Two years ago, paths crossed, and the first idea for new chapters began. One year ago, the ideas became a reality as a first step was taken, and yesterday … TODAY … the story continues from totally unforeseen pastures. I am here in a place I never envisioned, unsure where my next step will take me, totally uncertain as to what future I will write myself now, but absolutely KNOWING I am on the path that I need to be on.

For we always are.

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Where will the next step take me? What will the next chapter read?

This journey has reminded me that I am a minuscule part of an infinite whole, while at the same time encompassing that whole in the universe that is me. Every meeting, every pain and joy, every hardship and ease, every failure and success just makes me a unique part of the whole, and The Story Continues. I have no hope of containing the immensity of this story in one measly book, not even my own infinitely small part of it. Yet I can also be thankful to be part of the whole, a necessary part just as everyone else’s chapters are.

I cannot actually telly you where the next steps of my Walk-about will take me. But I can tell you what will drive them.

Compassion. Hope. Laughter. Healing. Change. Brightness. Beauty.

I look forward to interacting with YOUR chapters. What future will YOU write?