Appalachian Trail: Day #33
Jerry Cabin Shelter –> Shelton Gravesite: 3.5 miles
Total AT Miles: 303.6
(Current Location: Pearisburg, Va – 634.6 miles)
I walk through the woods in a daze when I stumble upon rocks that are the ground we walk on. A white patch of clean granite(?) looks like a blaze. I know the trail leads on but I wander up the slick rock anyway to find an overlook not marked on the map. I drop my pack as a voice as cold and distant as the mountains yonder beckons me to stay. I think of another hiker who says the trees commune with and guide her. I stay.
I know the voice is my own mind, an instinct or my subconscious, yet I ponder why it would speak to me though the rocks and not directly. Perhaps it knew I may not listen. I am attuned to myself though my mind still wanders. I do not always listen.
I find a nook in the rock to fit my butt. I sit, crossing my legs, and I breathe. I become aware of birds fluttering and chattering in the trees surrounding me. I hear the sounds of civilization in the valley far below.
When my mind stills, I dredge up the thoughts that plague my mind. I inhale them to the top of my conscious then, on the exhale, release them into the world. After a few rounds of breathe my body tingles. I am no longer troubled. I am fully in the moment.
Hours later after meeting many hikers stopping for the view as well, the rocks speak to me again. With urgency, they tell me it is time to go. I previously planned to stay cowboy-camping in this beautiful place. I listen once more and I walk.
It is late, an hour from dark. I see smoke rising through the trees. A drizzle begins to fall. I thought I would hike on until dark but whatever this voice is, obviously not the rocks, guides me to the camp. I walk up the path to Shelton Graves and meet a south-bound hiker. She built a bonfire. I cowboy camp here and we talk into the night around the warmth of the blaze.
Morning in the camping area at the Jerry Cabin Shelter. I lay around my tent. Dr. Kool-Aid joins me for coffee.