The view from Max Patch

I took a walk in the woods yesterday, and the day before and the day before and the day before. Invariably the walk included scrumptious views atop Max Patch, named for a horse named Maximilian. It’s a bald, a word in the Southern Highlands for a mountaintop with no trees.

Tuesday’s hike began from a well-hidden path off our road. It merged soon with the Appalachian Trail, the famous 2,100-mile footpath extending from Georgia to Maine. A hard rain had just come through, and I was fortunate to escape it, though certainly became soaked soon enough. About a mile in, I met a couple from Pennsylvania, Marty and Bob and their two dogs, Rudy and Sam. They were not so fortunate with the rain.

I hiked on, and wished them well. If you ever want to remind yourself how small you are in the universe, hike in deep woods, or stand on top of a bald and soak in the 360-degree view. It’s absolutely humbling, as well as a thing of beauty.

Typical of such ventures, I think of things going on back home. Various friends are in tight spots. I say prayers for them. I wonder about the trees surrounding me, and critters underfoot. I try to avoid falling on the slippery roots. I drink lots of water. My heart races on the inclines.

These are not like our baby hills at home. I get soaked in perspiration.

About two miles in, I came to a sign that was confusing. I saw three paths but what appeared to be four choices on the sign. I knew I wanted to stay on the A.T. Not sure which one it was, I took off reticently. I turned back, hoping that Marty and Bob would come along. They did, and I joined them for the final two miles and took turns calling their dogs back from the fern-covered forest.

I learned that Marty had hiked the whole trail in 1997 and they were down this way on vacation, visiting their daughter in nearby Asheville. I learned that their daughter had once stayed in the very same house we’re renting.

You may find, while hiking in the woods, that you’re small; you’re merely visiting those who make the woods their home. But if you pay attention, you might also see that the Universe provides, sending new friends to point the way.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s