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Re: [at-l] A Question

> why the trail is so important to you....meaning everyone here
Well gee, StormPhoenix, you're bound to get 500 responses to THAT question! 

My story, as it has evolved (or, Who IS Navigator, anyway?)

I grew up in a valley just below the trail, in New Jersey (Bearfort / 
Waywayanda Mtns); most of the roads around our towns crossed the trail. So as 
a kid, my parents took me out there to hike, and in later years I marveled at 
backpackers at the road crossings. My high school friends (all day hikers 
too) and I dreamed about hiking the trail. BUT THEN, my family moved to 
Florida. (Boo! Hiss!) I continued to dream of hiking north on the AT after 
graduating high school, but college and guys sidetracked my dreams. I moved 
to Pennsylvania. I didn't rediscover those old dreams until I had a nervous 
breakdown about 5 years ago, brought on by long hours in corporate hell 
mingled with a bad marriage *and* watching one of my co-workers suddenly die 
on the job. SO...

I changed my life. I started doing what *I* wanted to do. I joined AT-L, when 
it started. I realized, after my first Gathering (1996) that there was a 
whole culture, an American mythos, wrapped up around the AT. I'd already 
loved the outdoors, and just that little nudge from folks who loved it as 
much as I got me out backpacking for the first time-- and I discovered I 
loved that too!

I planned a thru for 1999 but life conspired to keep me from it. My younger 
sister died from cancer after I took care of her for almost 2 years. I 
finally got up the strength to leave my bad marriage. I moved back home with 
Mom & Dad. 

I'm recovering now. Again. And I'll be on the trail soon... :)

Once upon a time (5 years ago) I looked at a thru as something that could 
change my life. Since then, my life has changed drastically. Dramatically. 
And while the changes have been tough, overall it's all been for the better. 
There are NO coincidences in life, that's my new philosophy! So, while I 
realize the thru will nudge my personality and plans for the future around a 
bit here and there, I'm moreso in it now for the immersion in nature, the 
immersion in a simple lifestyle. A spiritual connection with my concept of 
God, which I reach best through nature. And, of course, the thrill of knowing 
I'm capable of completing something that monumental.

I'm pumped. I'm psyched. I'm ready.
Hey, where's my Lekis? <G>

Cheers, Navigator

* From the AT-L |  Need help? http://www.backcountry.net/faq.html  *