09 June, 2012

The Appalachian Trail

For the past few months, I have been residing in the small town of Erwin, TN, just beside the Appalachian Trail. It is a beautiful place, even if a little sparse when it comes to urban amenities. One of the most exciting things I do here is walk on the trail, exploring and taking in nature as I find it.

Of course, I don't actually walk the length of the Appalachian Trail. I only go to those parts of it that are within a few miles of my house. It is still nonetheless beautiful. I've spent several nights there, watching the stars shine brightly in an area with no city lights, and I've walked often during the day to see what I can find anew each time.

I sometimes think I look a little odd, with my picnic lunch and fold-out chair that I carry in a small bag on my back. I doubt there are others who walk the trail with a chair on their back. Yet despite how I may look, I still find myself enjoying the area more and more every time I walk through it.

Some have pointed out to me that I should also take the opportunity to hike in scarcity here. They say that I should not bring my podcasts and fancy collapsing chairs, and that I should instead walk for a day with only food, water, and a sleeping bag on my back, so that I can take everything in in the fullest. Sometimes, I think they are right. There seems to be something a little odd about listening to philosophy podcasts while appreciating the beauty of nature outside my doors. Yet at the same time, I can't help myself. These walks constitute the best time in my day to listen to philosophers argue about this and that, and I always have the capacity to stop my iphone and concentrate fully on the trek instead. As for using sleeping bags, I guess I'm just not the right person to fully enjoy doing such a thing. I've spent the night out here before, but only after sleeping the day away in my own bed, so that I can instead walk all night, wandering the dark forest paths.

Maybe I'm not a hardcore hiker, but I still really enjoy the beauty of the area I live in. When I move from Tennessee, this will be the part of it that I will miss the most.