A Time to Keep is about embracing & cherishing the moments of our lives…keeping alive within our hearts those memories of faith, hope & love…it may be a time of reflection of a glance back to a time of tea parties, horseback riding, gardening, preparing a home-cooked meal or for me during these later stages of my life…a time to reflect on the adventures & challenges that I endure while hiking on the trails.
Mount Katahdin…”The Greatest Mountain”…she stands tall, beckoning many a hiker to dare climb her summit. Her cry can be heard as she moans your name as it echoes through the lush, green valleys, up a jagged, sharp mountain only to plunge you into a muddy, boggy marsh. She calls your name through fourteen of our eastern coast states all the while as she tempts you and dares you to hike the over two thousand miles on a journey of our beloved Appalachian Trail. Over the course of five years as I sectioned hiked the spine of this chain of mountains, I would hear her faint voice…her faint voice calling me to persevere and endure the hardships and challenges that lie before me. I at times would struggle and cry as I pushed to reach her…laughing while frustrated at my lack of strength, Mount Katadhin finally came within reach on September 2nd, 2012.
I began what I thought would be my final journey at 6:30 in the morning as I signed in at the register within Baxter State Park. My pack was light as I hiked though her woods climbing nearer to her spine and up onto her flat plateau. She boasts of a sign on her summit that reads of her great accomplishments for she is KATAHDIN. She stands at an elevation of 5267ft and proudly announces that she is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail…a mountain footpath extending over 2000 miles to Springer Mtn. Georgia. I was tired and weary of my hike. I had traveled nearly nine hundred miles on this particular section to reach her…the last few days were hard to imagine that I was finally here! Yet there was sadness within as I walked these last miles. A sadness of a door closing, a completed journey, a final climb. I wept as I embraced her beauty, her glory and her honor that many have bestowed upon her. I wept realizing that I would turn around and climb down her only to make my way back to Ohio where life would seem abnormal for a season as I allowed myself to become accustomed again to the rigors of life back home.
“Captain Blue” had reminded me that this was not the end…but the beginning of something far greater and new! I returned home only to find myself yearning to be back out on the trails and once again I planned and prepared myself to hike yet another…the southern portion of the Eastern Continental Trail. From December to April I would hike just over two thousand miles from Key West to none other but the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. I have now hiked the trails from the waters of Key West, Florida all the way to the rugged mountains of Maine. What a challenging adventure it has been…this is my Time to Keep. Memories of a hiker…
With much faith, hope & love,