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Sabbath Day – The AT in CT

May 21, 2016
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

–Walt Whitman, from Song of the Open Road

So this marks my second week of return to the trails. Last week saw modest miles on the Appalachian Trail in New York and New Jersey. This week I see out, after seeing August off to school on the bus, for Connecticut, squeezing in as much hiking as I could before racing back to meet the bus again.


Bulls Bridge, Kent. This is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Connecticut, and the only one still carrying cars. Growing up, my parents always stopped at wooden bridges so we can get out and walk across. Indiana, where my father was born, was famous for them. I remember one vacation with another family during which one of our cars broke down, and our two families had to pile into the remaining vehicle. Getting out to walk across a bridge was a welcome relief from cramped quarters and siblings. This bridge overlooks the beautiful Housatonic River, which since adolescence I have associated with the fabled Miskatonic River from the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Just beyond the bridge, the westernmost leg of the Appalachian trail in Connecticut ascends a mountain and then descends into New York. It was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods.

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My goal was to reach the top of Ten Mile Hill and take in the sweeping views of the Housatonic Valley. I kept up quite a pace, met several thru hikers and day hikers, and made the crest in little more than 90 minutes. The sign on the tree told me exactly where I was on the trail, and made me hungry to take in more and more of the AT. I have a dim hope of seeing Katahdin later this summer.

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I pressed on a few more miles before turning around, but wanted to leave myself enough time for lunch and play. I hopped and skipped across rocks so that I could sit in the confluence of Ten Mile River and the Housatonic. Here I sat and had my lunch, my naked feet hung deep in the ice cold water. I had a book with me on the mysticism of place, but it made me so dreamy I just closed my eyes and listened to the water rushing by, my feet slowly turning numb.

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Eventually I had to head home, but not without taking in views of the water that I had had my back to on my hike in. Having been in the water, the views that much more inviting.

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Back home (in time), I took August straight from the bus stop to his responsibilities at Greenburgh Nature Center. There I had the unexpected chance to overcome one of my fears. Cockroaches have always freaked me out, so I thought I would spend some time playing with this one. The legs are unlike other insects, more like little sticks. While the hissing can be disconcerting, it’s easy to get over. It’s even predictable if you pet the cockroach in a certain way. Cockroaches no longer freak me out.


I received more comments on this photo when I posted it on Facebook that anything I have shared in a while. Obviously, we have a very visceral relationship to his insect. That’s what I wanted to face, and I did.

With all homework done quickly, August and I simply enjoyed one another’s company for a while before turning in for a good night sleep. A very satisfying sabbath day. Definitely needed.

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