On the trail

I am now working in southwestern Vermont, in a place that is very close to the Appalachian Trail.  Bennington is a “trail town” and I have been fortunate enough to be here in the summer to witness what that means to this area.  For quite some time now, I have had a slight obsession with the AT-I’ve read quite a few books, I know some people who have thru hiked and I have been trying to create my own “trail magic” by getting involved with the hiking community that is here.  I enjoy giving hikers rides to and from town and to hear their stories.  I have had very good experiences so far.  I think if anyone wants to have some faith restored in humanity, they should become part of the trail community.  I have encountered nothing but kind and generous people.  Whether it is giving a ride to someone, having a cookout set up on the side of the road or just some kind interactions, I have witnessed all of these things.

I don’t have any grand illusions that I will thru hike this trail, but I have been working on getting active on it.  I have now hiked a very little (in the grand scheme of its’ 2190 miles or so) of the trail in a couple of states.  I find it fascinating to stand in the same place that so many people have and will continue to do so.  I love imagining what brought them to the trail and what keeps them there.  Even more interesting to me is my personal journey and love for the trail.  It is a story that starts sad and gets happier as time passes.

I recently went to the top of Greylock Mountain, the highest peak in Massachusetts and did a little “blue blazing” on some of the miles of trails there.  It was beautiful, but the weather changes so quickly, which I wasn’t expecting.  At the top, there is a war memorial tower for the men and women of Massachusetts that have lost their lives fighting.

Part of the trail that I did in Vermont is called by some as the mountain of 1000 steps.  It’s a little brutal.  I think I picked just about the hardest part of the Vermont trail to start in.  Interestingly enough, the AT merges with the Long Trail for 105 miles before they branch off again-the LT heading toward Canada and the AT toward New Hampshire.

I will continue to research and learn about the trail and hopefully put more of it under my hiking boots.

The way time goes by…

Five years ago today, I accepted my first travel position.  I was on vacation, had just bought a car and was spending time with family.  I had been waiting since April to have someone take a chance on me.  Despite having many years of experience, it was difficult for me to break into the travel gig I wanted.

It was a time in my life that I had a lot going on personally; some of it very difficult and other parts, I felt like I was at the top of my game.  But, with that one call, it all changed for the better.  I was so excited, scared and totally overwhelmed.  I would be leaving in a few days to start a job in Tuba City, Arizona.

Looking back, I would say that my dominate emotion was being scared.  I had no idea what to expect, didn’t know if I would succeed and would be very far from my family.  However, it was also so exciting to start a new adventure and realize a dream that I had been harboring for well over a decade.

I now have 15 travel assignments under my belt and certainly much more confidence and experience than I did then.  I have scores of memories, travels and mistakes from these past five years, but I wouldn’t give back one of them.