At The Limits: Hiking Southbound on the Appalachian Trail
I wanted to be a Pokemon trainer. A child wandering a vast continent. I could explore dark grottoes. I could surf near mysterious islands. On the weekends, I’d battle Team Rocket or skirmish with Fisherman Ed.
Ash was cool. I wanted to be cool. Partnering with a fire-belching beast would definitely make one cool. At least, I thought so.
I wanted to be Ford Prefect, the galaxy-roaming, towel-brandishing writer. I’d sit on my bed crafting Vogun poetry and pretending to steal the Heart of Gold. When I wasn’t stranded on boring planets, I would drink Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters at the End of the World.
Ford had adventure, women, and charm. Teenage Mike wanted adventure, women, and charm. What teenage boy doesn’t?
Sociologist often discuss “prolonged adolescence:” the “younger generations” inability to accept the responsibilities of adulthood. Purgatory would be a more apt descriptor. It is a world devoid of adult responsibility as well as the adventures, dreams, and awe of childhood. We seek both and achieve neither.
This outcome is not inevitable. The “real world” does not entail a wasteland of dreams in a corporate office. We can continue to learn about ourselves and others; we can continue to adventure both at work and play. We find these lessons and adventures at our limits, physical and mental. We only need to push towards those points.
This space will be a journal of my new adventure. On Sunday, I leave to hike the Appalachian Trail (Southbound). I promise not to bore you with excessive details of miles walked or hills climbed. Instead, I will try to share the awe of a child and the lessons of an adult.
Good luck on your own adventure. I will post again after Katahdin and the 100 Mile Wilderness.