For me it started in phases. for about 10years I'd done nothing but work sleep church and nothing else. But I'd occasionally take a day ride it was about all I could afford and I missed being in the woods. Then one year I took a vacation to North Carolina and while there took a train ride out of Bryson city or Dillsboro and half way thru at the turn around point they let us off the train for a couple of hours at one of the prettiest stop I'd ever seen a fabulous river with kayakers a stone store and as I was entering 3 backpackers sitting exausted on the sidewalk next to the store. In side was the most wondrously exciting things I'd ever laid eyes on backpacks and tents and everything else a boy could want but the amazing thing was that they were in every color shape and size you could imagine. Were not all back packs army green and tent made out of canvas and all knives of any consequence made by case, buck, uncle Henry, or Barlow?
well I'll tell you this little boy in his late 30s just found a store he liked better than the hardware store and as I was getting back on the train I saw the sign for the AT huts then all of the simple heavenly views that the mountains offer on the ride back. And then file it all away in the back of my mind. The next year I took my niece a sister on that ride and I pondered on it all.
well back to normality and work sleep church and an occasional day trip. Then one day going stir crazy I bought a book The Most Scenic Drives in America and they had a place called De Soto falls but you had to hike 3 miles to see them. So I said to myself I like waterfalls and set about making plans to go went to Wally World bought a fanny pack with 2 water bottles and a walking stick and off on another day ride. Wow more beautiful mountains and another fantastic stream. Now I was in fantastic shape but after a 1/2 mile my tongues dragging the ground (didn't know about altitude at that time) well they had a bench there and as I sat there looking at this wonderful conifer forest that looked like giant Christmas trees in the cool crip air I said to myelf I like hiking and as I was catching my breath I realized I love this clean cold unspoiled forest and I'd finally found something to fill the void because my mind put 2 and 2 together the hike store and all that exciting stuff and my love of the outdoors
more than a decade later it still is the most satisfying hobby even when your not feeling it the calm quiet and wonder of the marriage between a 50year old little boy his hiking toys and the great vast outdoors play ground always awakens my imagination
My friends as we begin this new year I certainly hope it's doing the same for you!