Yesterday was cold. Like, 19 degrees cold with a bit of wind and the ground covered in 6 inches of snow. An ideal winter day to curl up on the couch with a good book and some hot tea. Or, on the other hand, a great day to get out on the trail with 35 pounds on my back!
Surprisingly, and without needing any convincing, my good friend Angela agreed to come up to Harriman State Park and hike a section of the AT with me. Armed with multiple layers of synthetic clothing, hats, gloves and face-masks, we managed to keep quite warm. We had an ambitious goal of a 7 mile hike in the northwest section of the park. But after an extended shopping stop on the way up at Campor, (it happens to me more often than I’d like), we had to cut it short in order to make it back before sunset. Which, it turned out, was a-ok with me after learning quickly that hiking a little-populated trail in snow is akin to trying to run fast in the sand uphill.
The snow-covered terrain was serene and quiet. The ice on the tree branches sparkled like prisms in the sunlight. It felt amazing to be out there, breathing in the crisp, fresh air, appreciating all aspects of nature’s bounty. And yet at the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was I was doing, planning on walking for almost 5 months with this much weight on my back?! I was out of breath and my legs burned! I guess this is going to be the dichotomy of the big trek — pleasure and pain, struggle and accomplishment, uphills and downhills…
All in all, it was a nice day. And the burgers and beers afterwords were fantastic!