The friends I've made here feel like my family and it was so good to see and work with them again. The three-and-a-half months here for the winter season feels too short and I will miss every one of you. I knew that we had limited time when we moved back out here, but it feels much shorter than I thought. I can only dwell on the bitter for so long though. What I really want to take with me when I depart California are the good people and memories we share, the experiences and opportunities given to me through friends and working for Shane Dean at June Mountain (I'm very thankful for every opportunity Shane!) and my love of the outdoors that was re-kindled here.
The bittersweet feelings will only last so long, because before we know it, Missy and I will be on the Appalachian Trail!! I don't know if I've ever been so excited to do anything before. I was pretty nervous about it a couple weeks ago, but now all I feel I can really do is just hike it. I've done as much preparation as I can, and I leave it to the fates the rest of the way. I can no longer let myself worry about every little thing. I'm confident I've prepared for most situations we might find ourselves in and if I forgot anything I'll just have to deal with it as I can. This reminds me of a John Muir quote that seems very fitting for this moment: "But to the few travelers who are in earnest- true lovers of the truth and beauty of wildness- we would say, Heed nothing you have heard; put no questions to "agent," or guide book, or dearest friend; cast away your watches and almanacs, and go at once to our garden-wilds- the more planless and ignorant the better. Drift away confidingly into the broad gulf-streams of Nature, helmed only by Instinct. No harsh storm, no bear, no snake, will harm you" (an excerpt from his essay 'Twenty Hill Hollow')