Another weekend, another trail preparation walk….a 9.8 mile walk with a 30 pound backpack that is! Hey, it is Brooklyn after all — go big or go home, right?
The fact that it is now just 6 weeks until trail-time was certainly weighing heavy on my mind (and my shoulders) this afternoon when I got to spend a relatively warm (35º!) few hours walking around town with my fiance at my side. It’s hard to imagine what it will be like to walk that far (or more) with that much weight (or more) everyday for 4 1/2 months (…or more).
It was especially hard to envision what it will look like to be immersed in nature day after day, when today I was surrounded by cars, buildings and 1/2 the population of Kings County. The imagined differences between an on-trail hike and an on-street walk became clearer as I maneuvered my way through the slushy, 19-inches-of-snow-and-no-where-to-put-it puddles on street corners, around the double-wide strollers of yuppified Park Slopers and past the European tourists snapping photos on the Brooklyn Bridge. It was made most apparent though, with all of the double takes and backward glances I got. Though they say anything goes in this city, I do suppose I was something of an enigma today. While everyone else was out for mimosas and Sunday brunch, I trekked through town laden with hiking poles, boots and an external frame backpack. When I head out on that footpath in the woods in a few weeks, no one, not even the trees, will think anything of it.
But I’ll take that enigma stigma and make it my own. I’ll be the city mouse and the country mouse. I can live happily in New York City, surrounded by culture, diversity, art and people. I can also envelop myself in fresh air, a pristine mountaintop vista and allow myself the time for quiet contemplation. Both environments can nourish the soul if you let them.
But before I head out on that trail, I won’t fuhgettabout where I am now. In lieu of trail mix or gorp, I’ll nourish my belly with a toasted bagel and cream cheese and a coffee to go for my mid-hike snack!