1861 miles on the Appalachian Trail
All around me, mountains stretch toward the sky, rising in the distance from the haze of a humid summer afternoon, towering over streams, valleys, and rivers. A faint breeze lingers in the air and the sun gently warms my shoulders as I admire this slice of Earth beneath my feet. A few stray black flies buzz by. How far away are the distant peaks on the horizon? 50 miles? 80? There is not a town in sight. For a second, all my worldly thoughts and worries fall away, and I am alone atop nature's cathedral. I reach for my camera to capture this moment - this moment that cannot be caged.
Today marks our last day in southern Maine, and my last day of difficult hiking in Maine. One final mountain range stands between us and the easier terrain in the north: the Bigelows. I have an open blister on my big toe, and the soles of my feet are a bit of a spongy mess, but I couldn't care less in the face of the beauty before me.
Southern Maine is wild. It is raw. It is messy. It is difficult. But it is worth it.
And we have emerged triumphant.