Life is Sweeter with Less to Carry
Since I last checked in I've accumulated many miles on various trails in the North Georgia Mountains and I've gained some knowledge.
A friend came into town for a visit on Sunday. She wanted to hike but didn't want to tackle anything too strenuous, so we chose the Raven Cliffs Trail. It's a 5.3 mile, out and back trail, rated easy. It was the most enjoyable hike I've done so far. The trail hugs the gently winding creek all the way back to the cliffs. While the main trail is easy, there is a trail that continues beyond that goes straight up the cliffs. It's about half a mile of difficult hiking. I hiked straight up and down with about 20 pounds on my back. It was a narrow, not always obvious path, with significant consequences if you had a misstep.
Earlier in the week I met a 66 year old retired Army Ranger at the Woody Gap trailhead. We struck up a conversation and I found out that he had thru hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2014. We talked for about an hour. He graciously answered every question that I asked. It was a lot to absorb but the main lessons I took away was to travel light.
He had hiked the entire A.T. with no more than 20 pounds on his back. This is much less than the 30 to 40 pounds most people carry. "You don't need all the things you think you need. If you need something you don't have, they'll be plenty of chances to pick it up along the way."
Traveling light came up again later last week when I went back to Newnan. I got rid of almost everything I owned last year when I hit the road, but I did keep a 5x10 storage unit full of things I might need. So I went back to haul those things up to my new storage unit in the mountains. I was able to shed more before loading up and I'm certain I could pare it down even further.
I'm grateful for my lack of possessions today and notice that this is a huge shift in perception. There was a time when accumulating stuff was what brought me joy, albeit fleeting. Now I feel genuinely fulfilled knowing that the few possessions that remain have purpose. I'm learning that I don't need to carry that extra weight in life or on the trail. Life is sweeter with less to carry.