Sunday, May 18, 2014

500 "New Miles" and Counting!

It hasn't been too terribly long ago that I wrote that blog post titled "GSMNP 900! No Promises, New Miles," but as of yesterday, I've reached the 500 "New Miles" milestone.  Once I started keeping track of this journey on the spreadsheet provided by Liz Etnier, author of the book that we use as one of two major references toward our goal, hiking all the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has become an obsession. Counting the miles has been an impetus to get us out there more frequently than we would have without marching steadfastly toward our goal.  An occasional hike in the woods is one thing, but this drive toward a group goal is something quite different.

Do I let the goal ruin the journey? No! Being in the wilds of the Smokies with two of my best friends I've ever had in my life and enjoying what nature has to offer us is still the best part of every hike we do.  I love walking in these woods, along these ridge lines, listening to the calls of the birds or scampering of the boomers, taking in the breathtaking vistas, and listening to that still small voice inside me.  Putting one foot in front of the other when striving to reach the top of some steep climb, encouraging each other that we can DO this because we've done it before--those are small treasures provided by this quest.

And we ARE purists! We never take credit for having walked even any small distance that we haven't really walked.  If we get off the trail to look at a rock outcropping or whatever, we don't come out the other side and continue on.  We will even double back to the same spot we left the trail just to be purists in the effort.  I've hiked with one person in the past who, if she sees a trail sign, she's done that trail--her record keeping is terrible so her claim to have finished them all will be meaningless, no matter when she "says" she's finished them all.  Not us! Meticulous record-keeping is a part of the process for us.  There are many small snippets of trail that can easily be missed unless you're very careful and purposeful in this effort.  This book can help you in that in case you're interested in pursuing a similar goal.

According to Ms. Etnier's book, there are 791.9 miles of trail in my beloved Smoky Mountains.  I am fortunate to have hiked 500.6 of them to date.  Hopefully, the Lord will allow me to finish, but even if I don't ever finish, I have been blessed by every step in ways I can never relate here.

No comments:

Post a Comment