Happy New Year's Eve!
The countdown begins!
Just wanted to say "best of luck and good journey" to all of you setting out this year, especially those undertaking a thru hike.
Though it might not be recognized, you've already undertaken significant parts of your adventure - the spark, the deciding, the telling and the preparations. I guess you could call it "Part One,' and it's no less important than what we mostly focus on, "Part Two," the actual journey itself.
("Part Three is readjusting to a confined life after relative freedom, and holding your weight from ballooning ).
And though you feel like newbies, the truth is, the rest of us, we're all jealous of the adventure you're about to undertake, your excitement and new-found freedoms-to-be. The luxury of paying attention, and the time to do it in.
Here's a poem about adventuring that I've always liked, which I pass along to speed you on your journey. Substitute "Katahdin" (or, for the SOBOs, "Springer") for "Ithaka" and it works pretty well.
As they used to bid in the past, "Be of stout heart!"
Hope YOUR road is a long one!
Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time; ...
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
*Giant, sailor-eating orgres - kind of like Bigfoot