Wednesday, June 4, 2008

30 Mile Days on the AT

The first was hard with chafing and rain. Hard pack trails without any hills. Hot dry summer day, the beginning of a long period of late afternoon thunderstorms. It was all about being a bad-ass. Thirty-four miles of glory. Running for the hell of it. Sleeping never felt so good. We earned it. Sleep you deserve is so sweet and delicious. A birthday cake on your 90th. My final thirty I found poetry in the power of three. Celebrating the triad, invigorated by the idea that after the first ten miles, I get another, and yet another. There’s something about three that is both forbidden and desirable, punished and treasured, captured and embraced. I was discovering the latter in all of these.
My second thirty was the only one out of necessity. And somehow I enjoyed it the most. I was constantly entertained. At the base of a long mountain climb, I stopped to prepare for the early storm, threatening me with wind and growls. As I pushed hard, I was rewarded with cooling downpours and intense surges of rain. Howling at this present from the sky, I rejoiced with every slosh of my footsteps. Soaked to the bone and happy to the marrow. Walking in a river, swimming up to the sky. Sweat washing away before I could feel its heat. I passed a hiker and his poor load carrying dog, watched them melt away before I passed them on my cleansing climb. There’s nothing more spiritual than water on a mountain; whether it’s flowing from it or pounding on it. And on top it all stopped. The steam consuming the valleys below, pouring from my purified body. A view into fog, millions of crystal clear prisms. I breathed in their light and all the colors they had for me to hold. I exhaled, in glory bound pace, the next twelve miles. Finding myself at my predestined road before dark.