This morning I decided to take a much overdue hike along the Appalachian Trail to Raven Rocks (also Crescent Rock), which is roughly a six-to-seven mile round-trip walk. It's been far too long since I've hiked this portion of the trail, and I still consider it one of the most challenging hikes I've ever encountered, with it's steep winding hills and sharp, uneven rocks and boulders throughout the entire trail.
When I first moved out this way, there was one point where I used to hike this trail on a near weekly basis, and with each time, it became easier - almost instinctual. Needless to say, it whipped me into shape real fast, as the hike is a total body workout, and would put any visit to the gym to shame. This time around, the trail simply whipped my butt, and I know I'll have a hard time moving at all tomorrow. Why would one go through such pain you might ask? Well, for one, it's an excellent way to get away, and funny thing is, by the end of the hike, you start to see the road and hear cars again from the trail, and actually appreciate it once more. I personally am somewhat of a nature boy, and grew up exploring wooded trails by foot and bike throughout a good chunk of my childhood, searching for small critters and just enjoying the adventure of being in the outside and in the woods. It was both calming and somewhat frightening, and as an adult, I still have that same dual feeling.
There's nothing I dislike more than a smooth, neatly manicured row of trees, or worse, a golf course. You won't ever find me on the green, wearing a tacky polo and pretending to be wealthy and enjoying it. That might be for some, especially in this area, and I say whatever floats your boat. I find it boring and it's simply not how I roll, and I consider Thoreau far more a hero than Tiger Woods any day, hands down. All golf-bashing aside (sorry for the minor detour) I like hiking because it returns my peace of mind and reminds me of what's important and what really matters. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, more and more, as I approach a certain, notable age in a couple of months, and I've got some real solid plans for a positive life change, or as some might call, a "shift", real soon, which I'll post more about when the time comes. In the meantime, it was good to get out again, and in some bearable summer weather. Hope to hit some more trails again soon. Until then, enjoy the photographic documentation of my hike, via Instagram for the first time!