Monday, November 25, 2013

Breathe. Love. Live.

Breathe.

Love.

Live.


Those three words brought me very far. They brought me out from depression and out from under a shattered romance and self conception. Throughout my life I experienced sporadic episodes of breathing, loving, and living, but that's what they were, sporadic. I searched and searched for that feeling without realizing that it had to come from within me. Living on the trail forced me to confront myself and eventually taught me that I can live my life by breathing, loving, and living in each moment.

These words took me from being a skeptical atheist through an intermediate stage of open minded skepticism to being a wholehearted explorer. I am still a skeptic, but I have had such experiences that it is no longer front and center. It is no longer my identity. Now it is a quiet voice in the back of my head, fact checking my experiences.

This is my truth. You will have to find your own. Your truth may be the same as mine or it may be different. And that doesn't make it any less true.

May your journey be fruitful.

Merry

Merry in Maine

Here I am, living in Maine. Teaching. Wow.

To me it feels natural and normal. But a few years ago I would marvel at who I am right now and what I am doing. I am living life with intention and finding life responding.


I have been in this lovely town (and oh boy is it lovely!) since August. But I recently found a trail that brought the concept home to me: This is MAINE. Close to me is a small network of trails. A small summit rises above the cross country skiing trails. The exposed rock is curved and formed in large slabs. It's rugged and pretty.

The summit looks out over the ponds and lakes of this region, east instead of west. I enjoy the summit. I also enjoy the small sub-summit that looks towards the west. But the gem, the gem I found only this past Sunday. From the summit a narrow overgrown trail descends. I never noticed it before. It's steep. It's rocky. It's Maine in all its glory. The boulders aren't as big as the ones in Mahoosuc Notch, but the way I had to brace myself and use my hands reminded me very much of descending Mahoosuc Arm. I think I will use this area as my training ground.

With my explorations I also found a small outcropping of rock with a beautiful view of the lower lakes. It's a broad, flat rock that is somewhat sheltered from the wind. It's the perfect spot to bring out a sleeping bag and do some stargazing. I think when the snow is on the ground that is exactly what I will do.

Merry in Maine


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where is your Blogger?

Gee, I haven't heard from Merry in a while. Do you think he still writes? Maybe he fell into the lair of a ravenous badger?

I am sorry to disappoint, but there have been no ravenous badgers involved in my recent silence. I have been hard at work at my next adventure. Very soon I am moving to northern New England to pursue teaching. I aim to instruct the next generation in the ways of the world and inspire them to live to their fullest. Along the way they will become excellent at handling equations and working in Science!

Here is close to everything I have to say about Portland, it has this sign:

I wrote one of those. Guess which.

To Maine!

Merry the Traveler

Friday, March 1, 2013

Never Wear Boots

I am fairly picky as to what I wear on my feet. Generally, I prefer something minimal. I have covered more than 2000 miles by foot over the past 12 months and I continue to hike every day.  For the majority of those miles I wore sandals. One of the big things I have learned in this time is what is good for my feet and my body as a whole. Sandals are still my go-to item.

My footwear for half of Virginia and most of Maine
Years ago, before I really knew what hiking even was, a friend of mine invited me to go out to the Grand Canyon and backpack. Knowing nothing about backpacking equipment, my parents took me to a local outfitter where we threw ourselves (and my future gear list) upon the mercy of the salesperson. Fortunately, he really knew what he was talking about. He knew what I didn't need to bring. He knew what I needed to bring. He knew about wool socks and liner socks, about synthetic and down sleeping bags, and about how to fit a backpack. He also knew what type of boots would wear out quickly, what boots would be comfortable, and how to choose a boot that is least likely to be a lemon. He set me up with a great pair of boots. But that was the start of the problem.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Journal: What do thru hikers do when they get together?

What do two thru hikers do when they get together?

Tough question. After all, they have backpacked for a long time. They love the outdoors. Nothing inspires them quite like sunrise from a mountaintop. Being out in the wilderness with cuddly bears, cute raccoons, fleet deer, and smelly hikers is what they do. It's in their souls. So of course we watched some holiday movies. Silly ones.

And then we went backpacking.
Stealth site on the ridge in New Jersery.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Journal: When is Yoga harder than the Appalachian Trail?

Now that I am off the trail I have to create exercise activities. Where I am sojourning I can only build so much exercise into my daily activities. I visit the grocery store daily with a short walk a mile away. I bicycle to destinations as much as possible. But I don't always have enough destinations! This is not the reason I go to yoga. But it is one reason I bike to yoga.

So here I am biking to yoga on a cool morning. Did I say cool? I meant cold. At least I find it cold riding for six miles in 40 degrees Fahrenheit in shorts and a T-shirt. Well, comparatively. You see, I was surviving but not comfortable for those miles as I spasmed my hands on the handlebars to keep them from freezing. It works; on the trail you learn that these things are livable. But I was not at all prepared for my destination. Because my destination was . . . drumroll please . . . hot yoga. Can you say Whoops?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Journal: 234 Miles: Stage Two: Hike Like a Madman

TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FOUR MILES TO HARPERS FERRY
If you missed Stage One, read it here.

Stage Two: Hike Like a Madman

It's late in the day at the Allenberry. Elvis and I have eaten dinner and now we're each on the phone. Several days ago I made phone calls and let folks know that I have decided to complete my thru hike in Harpers Ferry. Sweet is going to meet me in Harpers on Wednesday and we'll celebrate.

But I have an itch. A two part itch. First, with my cell phone out of commission and without regular internet access, I can't meet up with my mid Atlantic friends. Second, my friendship with Sweet is such an integral part of my hike and of my life that I want her to be there when I stop. She's agreed, but it sounds like there may be scheduling complications. 


I look at the mileage. Ninety-seven point nine miles to reach Harpers. And that doesn't include the mile I have to walk to get back to the trail. If I break all my hiking records I can make it in three days for a Saturday arrival. I call up Sweet. She can make it; the timing works better. I call my parents and let them know I have gone insane.