Appalachian Reflections

It has been four months since I left Mount Katahdin and the Appalachian Trail. Four months, but sometimes it feels like it was ages ago. In the intervening months, I have successfully reentered society – finding an apartment, starting back at work, and getting up to speed on current events in our country and world. The busyness of everyday life I found overstimulating at first, but as time goes on, I find myself more and more reacclimated. But while I’m back to my “old self” in terms of my schedule and daily routine, a part of me still lingers on the trail.

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So what is it that I miss the most?

 

Watching the sun rise and set everyday…

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No two dawns or evenfalls were ever the same. Each was unique and never to be repeated.

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Living and working within the confines of the indoors means I often miss these commonplace, yet beautiful daily wonders.

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Every now and again, in the midst of my hustle to and from work, I remember to look up and just relish the miracle of the start or end of another day.

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Listening to the sounds of nature…

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The rustle of leaves, the whispering pines, the hauntingly beautiful cry of the loon at dusk, the violent boom of thunder, the gurgling mountain streams, the nightly serenade of crickets and frogs, and the lonely cry of the coyote.

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Sometimes soothing, sometimes unnerving, but all part of the symphony of the trail.

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The feeling of utter exhaustion, yet complete satisfaction after a long, hard day of hiking…

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Never have I slept so well in my life.

 

The people I met…

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I bonded with people from all over the country and the world and from many different walks of life.

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I am honored to be a part of the AT hiking community.

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The overall sense of peace…

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Without all the distractions of civilization and with the numerous hours of solitude, I became much more aware of God’s presence, and realized that even though I wasn’t paying attention during the busy and stressful times in my life, He has always been there, and will continue to be there.

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I praised God for not only creating this beautiful world (of which I only saw a mere sliver), but also for creating me and giving me the ability to appreciate and revel in it.

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The Appalachian Trail has been a meaningful and significant chapter in my life. As I reflect on my experiences, I find myself desperate to cling to the lessons I’ve learned and to continue applying them, even as I dive back into the hectic pace of everyday life. Seasons come and go, and with them come new joys and challenges alike. There will come storms, but there also will come the sun. There will come days of winter and the degeneration of life, but there also will come spring and the miracle of rebirth. We have only two options: we can either come to a halt and refuse to go on when hardships befall us, or we can – with God’s help – keep moving, putting one foot in front of the other, keeping the faith that we will be all the stronger for the trial. Whether atop the loftiest mountain or the nadir of the dankest ravine, He will always be there and give us His peace – if we’re willing to listen.

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Until our paths cross again,

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   Ashley Sylvan

6 thoughts on “Appalachian Reflections

  1. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures of your journey and sharing what you learned through this amazing experience. There is nothing more beautiful than God”s creation, but we do need to stop long enough to truly appreciate it.

    Like

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