… “Five lessons I learned while on the North Country Trail”:
1. In his ‘Appalachian Trials’, Zach Davis shares the following descriptive commentary when explaining lightning storms: “For those who have never scurried … through a lightning storm, you can’t fully empathize with how distressing this is. Each (flash of bright light) followed by an explosion of thunder causes your heart to jump into the back of your throat, only to quickly drop back down into the depths of your anus”. The first lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail was that if a lightning storm is going to occur, it will do so when most inconvenient and when you’re hiking in the middle of the woods. And that Davis’ description is pretty accurate.
2. The second lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail was that not only is it very easy to push yourself past your limits, it is also very common for novice hikers to do so. Even with extensive training, not only are you most fragile at the beginning of any hike, your muscles and joints take the brunt of it all. As I experienced first-hand, the last thing you want to do is fall victim to the trail because you’re simply impatient.
3. “The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain” – Lord Byron, the third lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail.
4. According to Davis, “Although the trail (offers) a unique opportunity to ‘unplug’ from … society, the ultimate goal … is to finish and enjoy the trail”. The fourth lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail was that for me, being ‘unplugged but tethered’ gave me an added sense of security, knowing I could contact and communicate with society in case of an emergency, and allowed me to enjoy my time on the trail. Additionally, having my iPhone 6S provided the ability to capture photographs and record video to document my adventure.
5. Whether it is about pre-trail feelings and nervous energy, an experience or event that occurred on the trail, or simply looking back in reflection, writing about it allows you the opportunity to gauge the significance and impact each had overall. In my case, and the fifth lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail, was that writing it down allowed me to also share those thoughts and feelings with you.
It is my sincere hope that in sharing the words written, photographs captured, and the video recorded you have been able to find some small part of yourself – on the North Country Trail.