“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” – Sylvia Plath
It all began with a 1,000′ climb to a mountain ridge on the Appalachian Trail, a 35 pound backpack strapped to my back. My buddy Ed and I descended five days later and 70 miles south in Duncannon, PA with lacerations, sore joints, and drank many cold beers. In between we encountered boulders, hills, valleys, rattlesnakes, rocks (PA as a reputation as Rocksylvania to AT thru-hikers) and a monsoon–pouring rain, high winds, thunder and lightning.
On the final evening as dusk settled in I realized that Ed and I had been separated. We were in a dead zone (no cell phone towers) so had no way of communicating. He could have been one mile or five miles behind me. I set up camp, hung my hammock, and chilled in the mountaintop breeze before sliding into my sleeping bag to saw some logs.
The most common question I’m asked when I tell people about my ventures is “Why?”
“Because,” I tell them, “when I lie in my hammock before the sun goes down and look out over the valley, I feel like I’m on top of the world.”
The expression on their faces tell me they’ve never done such a preposterous thing, and they don’t quite understand. So I try another tact. I describe to them what I saw when I stuck my head out of my tent the next morning.
“I do it to get a glimpse of heaven.”
I know they will never get it, so I concede, “Well, it’s as close to heaven as I might ever get.”
Turns out Ed set up camp about 300 yards behind me.