Tuesday, December 16, 2008

time flies

Time is flying by. I am reading the February 2009 issue of Blue Ridge Country magazine, it came in the mail a few days ago and I am already 2 months behind!

Slow down, you move too fast, you've got to make the morning last ~Simon and Garfunkel

There is a story in this issue about the Appalachian Trail, about Karl Meltzer whose goal was to finish the entire 2000+ miles this year. This idea is not new of course, they are called thru-hikers, those ambitious folks who finish the trail all in a calendar year. But Karl's idea was new and different, he wanted to attempt it without a backpack or hiking boots, in fact he wanted to RUN the entire trail.

Runners just do it - they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first. ~Author Unknown

Karl is a world class endurance runner and his goal was to finish the trail in 47 days, to beat a former record of course. He tried this from August 5 through September 29, 2008. His goal, mantra, motto: 1 man, 2174 miles, 47 days. He didn't beat the record, but he gave it a good try, running up and down these Appalachian mountains day in and day out.

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence. ~Henry David Thoreau

The AT as everyone knows is a continuous marked footpath that goes between Katahdin in Maine and Springer Mountain in Georgia, about 2160 miles. The trail has spectacular scenery, is great for exploring, for adventure, for exercise, for nature study, and for renewal.

This all sounds so peaceful, tranquil even. Back to nature, peace and quiet of the forest, walking, hiking, climbing, exploring parts of the country that can only be reached by foot.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir

It is hard for me to understand why anyone would want to run on the AT, to rush past all that scenery. To me, it really misses the whole point of hiking in general and especially the AT, bringing it down to just another race, another finish line, another extreme challenge.

Jogging is very beneficial. It's good for your legs and your feet. It's also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed. ~Charles Schulz, Peanuts

But to each his own, I guess. At least he is out there getting some exercise and maybe even seeing some of the countryside, even if it is at a blur.

The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again. ~Erma Bombeck

I can’t help wondering if I had been jogging instead of blogging these last 3 years how fit I might be now. ~Colleen Redman

Karl Meltzer's AT stories here and here


colleen said...

I just used that same quote in my Christmas Letter. So when you mentioned it blew my mind a little and I wondered how you remembered it since it was posted a while back.

Also, it's fitting that it's with one by Erma Brombeck because when I was a teenager I read her and thought, 'I could do something like that someday.' I was surprised to see that someone could have a job writing funny stuff, stuff based on every day life.

andsewitis Holly said...

Oh, that hiking trail looks glorious! I wish there was something like that here on the west coast. I would love to hike parts of it. Just think of all the thousands of geocaches hidden along that trail. :)

Speedgoat Karl said...

Hello Susan, I will say it is an honor for you to mention me on your site. I had to respond just to throw in my two cents. From a Western US perspective on the AT. The AT is the ultimate trail...the history, the beauty, the camaraderie of hikers and the whole community that gets involved. Honestly, while I was hiking/running the AT, the real beauty I saw the whole way was the "Green Tunnel" itself. Especially in Maine where the trail is so tight. Here out west we have incredible views from very high places. In fact, here in my backyard there is a 7500' relief looking at Lone Peak, far bigger than any view on the AT. Each trail has it's own beauty, but on the AT 95% of the time is a a walk in the woods, 4% is a nightmare of a trail because of difficulty, and 1% are the stellar views.

I will admit the heading of "One man" 2174 miles....blah blah blah was over the top. I did not write that or approve that when it was put on the website....and would not have if it were my decision. Anyway, you are right to each his own. I did it my way, and honestly the next time I do it, possible 2010, it'll be more stealth. I also plan on walking the AT in the future with my wife at a far slower pace, one that takes us 4 months or so. I'll see the beauty then too. It's all beautiul wherever we are in the woods.

The only unfortunate problem with the AT is the garbage I saw on the trail. Not alot, don't get me wrong, but out here in Utah, I never see garbage on the trail, or around trailheads, it's a different ballgame in terms of management. Now go run, or walk or just enjoy the day.

The Calico Cat said...

We're still meeting when you make it to Md., right?