"There's a kind of luck that's not much more than being in the right place at the right time, a kind of inspiration that's not much more than doing the right thing in the right way, and both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself to the golden, fate-filled moment."
-A Character in the book I'm reading
My dear wife, Melissa, has received the opportunity to work for the North Carolina Aquarium in a position that meets the description of her "dream job". It is incredibly inspiring to see doors swing wide open in response to someone's persistence and hard work. I couldn't be more proud of her.
Having said that, we will be taking leave of Colorado in less than two week's time in order to make our way to the Outer Banks. Melissa will begin work, Luna and I will begin to walk.
For the most part, plans regarding our walk have remained incredibly tentative. The only thing that was certain that we would be out walking merrily about for at least 3 months. The idea was birthed in light of dreams of hiking the AT. As I brought that ambition into focus a little bit further I realized that it wasn't the novelty of being an AT-thru hiker, or meeting people on the trail, or sleeping in shelters that drew me towards the experience. In fact, those things may be deterrents.
My desire for this trip is to have a truly authentic experience, one that will be mine alone, unweighted by expectation and advice from others. The best route would be a route of my choosing, one that features options and intersections such that I can roam and explore at my leisure. I've decided to hike the Carolina Adventure Trek, we'll call it the CAT.
Beginning at Adam's house, a couple of miles off the Mountains-To-Sea trail north of Asheville, I will walk south until I meet the Art Loeb Trail. From the Art Loeb, I will follow the SAGE route in the clockwise direction through Brevard, to Caesar's Head State Park and the eastern terminus of the Foothills Trail. The Foothills trail will be a peaceful and beautiful section of the hike; once it's 77 miles are completed I will be near to the southern terminus of the Bartram Trail at Ocone State Park, SC. Hiking north on that I will, in about 100 miles, meet the AT near the summit of Cheoah Bald. Following the AT south from there will bring me to Springer Mountain, GA in about a week, where I can begin hiking the Benton MacKaye Trail. 300 miles later, the trail will end in the Smokies leaving me poised to start the Mountains-To-Sea Trail atop Clingman's Dome and follow it roughly 930 miles across the state and up the coast to the trails end in Jockey's Ridge State Park, a couple of miles from Melissa's place of employment. There you have it, the CAT!
Executing this hike will embody more of the experience I desire than I may be able to find on the AT. I will be able to go days without seeing anyone in certain sections, I will have the power to alter my route whenever and however I see fit, I will be accessible to family and friends, ensuring I'll be able to attend the high school graduation of my brother, Peter, and I'll be able to walk directly to my darling's doorstep. I don't think I could ask for anything more...
Here are some pictures of things that have occurred:
My brother, David, came out to visit. We had a blast skiing and hiking.
We headed up towards Mt. Yale from the Denny Creek Trailhead.
Dramatic post-holing near treeline thwarted any ambitions of summiting we may have had.
It was a marvelous day, though.
Luna rested at the trailhead, while I wore a goofy hat.
Imaginary chess was played.
Good times were had.
Lately, we've spent a lot of time away from snow in Buena Vista. Hiking and scrambling have become the norms.
Midland Hill is a great place to play. Yesterday, Mel, Luna, and I hiked the 1.75ish miles/1,750 ft, to the summit.
The day prior, Luna and I ran to the top. We then donned our packs and grabbed the trekking poles and hiked to the summit once again.