Years ago, I began a tradition of spending Thanksgiving night outside. I hoped that, under the stars, in the clean air, I would find those things for which I should truly be thankful.
Four years ago, I walked though Appalachian Fall into Northern VA and camped. At 3 a.m. a strange sound awakened me. As I slept, the bare winter woods had been blasted with a thick coating of ice, and trees groaned, snapped and plunged to the ground all around. Flashes of bright purple lightning filled the misty air and the wind screamed. I saw a limb the size of a ships mast plunge feet into the ground. I nearly threw up my dehydrated turkey.
Three years ago, on the infamous “roller-coaster” section of the AT, early season snow bogged down my journey.
Two years ago, I biked from Washington DC to Philadelphia. An early cold-snap left my feet alabaster, tingly to this day. My knees got so cold I fell and nearly snapped a brittle tendon.
Through it all, I was thankful. Thankful for my health, my mobility, and for good circulation that fended of permanent frostbite.
This year, I'll be spending Thanksgiving inside, with relatives who might not see another Thanksgiving. I'll miss the stars at night, the withering chill of the air in the morning, and the thrill of setting out under my own power. But I won't regret trading moonlight for florescent light. I'm thankful that I'll be warm, well-fed, and in the company of loved ones.
On behalf of Trailspace, please have a happy, safe and thankful Thanksgiving!