Archive For: Tale of a 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.

Rex Chestworthy is in da house!!

Those who have been following these wanderings for a while know that this journey was ultimately initiated by the collision of two bloggers. The whole idea started when one wise idiot had a world-changing idea. The world that was about to change may have been limited to a world of two, and the changes ended up completely different from what had been planned … but such is life. Every once in a while, I give an update on what the founder of this whole project is up to, even though our paths have gone in slightly different directions.

Mark, despite many speed bumps on the road of his life (some might even call the speed bumps mountains), keeps showing us the power of perseverance and a positive attitude. Like many who jump into the blogging world, for him blogging was a method of self-healing. His ability to turn difficulty into humor quickly gathered a large following for his blog, and he turned being an Idiot into a rather enviable status. However, his path changed, and he slipped away from blogging to become a master painter, with an equally avid following. Recently, he has decided that the world could once again benefit from his humorous yet insightful take n life, so has rejoined the world of blogging … sort of. He has sadly been forced to step away from the persona of The Idiot, because others far less worthy (insert the name of your favorite Tea Party Republican here), have claimed, and totally tarnished, the title. So he has instead brought another of his alter egos out, one Rex Chestworthy, to regale us with wisdom and the healing power of laughter. Those of you who are his friends may already have encountered his new page on FB, but for others who may be interested, or who may just need a good dose of eye-opening thoughts, take a wander over to The Ramblings of Rex Chestworthy. You may not agree with everything he says, but you will definitely not be disappointed for visiting.

Rex

Navigating without a map

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    Hungry Mother State Park

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    Hungry Mother State Park 36.883776, -81.526499 Hungry Mother State Park

“Why am I out here?”

Ultimately, every hiker will be asking themselves this question… most likely after a particularly bad or painful day. The funny thing is, at that moment in time they may not even know the answer to that question. We all start the trail with our reasons; our own justifications for attempting such a grand adventure. However, it seems to me that the justification we give ourselves to get started may be completely different from the “real” reason we are out here… often to our own surprise.

But that is how life really works.

This question has been bouncing around my mind like a pong ball of late, especially as any vision I had of the HOW of this journey has been completely replaced by that pesky bugger known to some as reality. In the last few weeks, I have found a new hiking partner, systematically gotten caught by every hiking town with any allure in a 300 mile radius, spent about 6 times my budget, found at least 3 places  that will be my future life and career, walked several hundred miles … most of it NOT on the trail, embraced my inner savage, helped my current hiking partner find her future porch rocking chair mate-for-life, had a nasty stomach flu, and dyed my hair and beard red, blue, and purple.

Yet I still am not clear what I expect to find.

This confusion, combined with a severe lack of cooperation from the Gods of Technology, is why I have not updated in a while … incidentally causing a few folk to wonder if I had been abducted by aliens or possibly eloped with a Sasquatch. Now, as I lie beneath a clear night sky in the oddly appropriately named Hungry Mother State Park (Virginia), I am in a position to share once again, even if I am not quite sure what I am actually sharing. My future vision, usually vague when it comes to myself, is now about as clear as wearing a blindfold in a sandstorm. The way I see it, these are the possible scenarios:

  1. I will eventually finish. Preferably before the grand celebration party that is no doubt being planned as I type. Or at least in the next decade.
  2. I will be kidnapped by aliens or elope with a lonely Sasquatch.
  3. I will start a hippie commune. Or go a little more upscale with a bed and breakfast/hostel. I will eventually become part of the mythology of the trail.
  4. I will actually complete a book.
  5. A combination of any of the above.
  6. None of the above.

Yep. All is clear now.

NOTE: One of the tech issues I have been fighting with tooth and nail has to do with photo transfer, so sadly youse guys are gonna have to wait for a new batch of masterpieces. 

Trail Wisdom, Part 2

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Damascus, VA

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Damascus, VA 36.633727, -81.783730 Damascus

Everyone has a story to tell. This is a fundamental truth.

Every story is unique and filled with wonder … for those with open eyes. But oh so many pick and choose what parts of their own story they see, often to their own loss. The modern world is teaching us the fine art of envy. We seem to only find value in the stories of others, masking or even rewriting our own.

What a loss to our world of wonder this could be.

Many don’t notice, but ALL of these stories are ultimately just part of one epic tail. Every meeting; every path crossed mean that two stories have intersected, becoming intertwined. Thus we ultimately become part of each other’s stories.

Ironically, even those of us who recognize our part in this epic adventure tale don’t always realize that our stories really have no beginning or end. We assign arbitrary stopping and starting points, but all endings are beginnings, and all beginnings are endings.

This Grand Tale is eternal.

I am realizing more and more as I move along the current part of my story that I am not exactly hiking the Appalachian Trail, but exploring a culture that is a unique blend of the fringe and the heart and soul of humanity. I am exploring life distilled down to its purest essence. I am being reborn moment by moment; continuing a tired old tale; starting a new story … adding to the epic adventure.

Everyone has a story to tell. This is a fundamental truth. My name is Picnic.

Join me in my story?

The Animal Food Song

The Boar Song:
Sniff sniff sniff. Food food food. What’s that! Our place!! Our food!! It’s one of those weird two legged things. Our food!! Our place!! Let’s scare it away! Snort with me brother! We will get it. Snort! Stomp! It keeps going. Coward. Food food food!

The Bear Song:
Food? Food! Oops. Not food. Maybe that is food. Mmmmmm. Food! More food!

The Mama Bear Song:
Don’t you dare touch my baby!! Back off! That’s MY baby!! Food? Food! Oops. Not food. Maybe that is food. Mmmmmm. Food! More food!

The Squirrel Song:
Hurry hurry hurry hurry. Food!!! Hurry hurry hurry hurry. Food!!! Hurry hurry hurry hurry. Food!!! Stranger Danger!!! Run away run away run away! Hurry hurry hurry hurry. Food!!! Hurry hurry hurry hurry. Food!!!

The Chipmunk Song:
The Squirrel Song only 3 times faster.

The Bird Song:
Foodfoodfoodfoodfood! Danger! Pretect the eggs! Follow me!! Woohoo! It followed. Try again! It worked again! One more time!! It worked!! The egg is safe! Foodfoodfoodfoodfood!

The Fly Song:
Smells like food! Buzzzzzzzzzz! Oops, not food. < – Repeat 1000 times!

The Hungry Hiker Song:
FOOD!! I don’t care how big an animal you are, that’s MY food!! Don’t mess with me!!! I’m HUNGRY!!! It’s dirty? Who cares! I’m HUNGRY!!!

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4255 Green Corner Rd, Hartford, TN 37753

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4255 Green Corner Rd, Hartford, TN 37753 35.786213, -83.101134 Standing Bear Farm

Day: 45
Trail miles: 240.5