2017 Journey along the Appalachian Trail

My Shadow on the Appalachian Trail. http://www.usathroughoureyes.com

The blend of the quiet moments, the physical challenges, the mental exhaustion and the connections with God through nature are what remain with me a couple of weeks after coming off the Appalachian Trail and are what keep me going back each year with my sister and brother on our annual trek.

This year, the physical challenges began almost immediately. The first two days of the journey were grueling with incredibly steep mountains to climb. But I knew that no matter how bad my lungs were screaming or muscles I never knew I had were burning, I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other because there was only one way off this trail and it was on my own two feet.

The quiet moments make the challenges bearable. One evening after getting to camp, we relaxed by the stream, cooling our feet and washing the dirt and sweat from our faces. After a little while, I was left alone listening to the water trickle over the stones and was tenderly surprised when a tiny white moth rested on me for a little while before flitting off again. Another evening we made a fire that was beautiful but was surprisingly much more work than I remember from my years as a Girl Scout. On yet another evening we were graced with a beautiful view from a rocky outcropping over a valley below and mountains beyond to enjoy the sunset.

The mental exhaustion comes through the day along with the physical exertion. It rears its ugly head when I haven’t fueled my body with enough food or water. Luckily, we watch out for each other along the way and remind each other to take a moment to have a snack or a drink to recharge our mental batteries. Through it all, I remember that no matter what the difficulties are, we always make it to the end of the trail.  

For a little while on this hike I was alone on the trail ~ just me ~ walking in silence ~ I was able to listen to God beneath my breathing and feel His Presence in the connection of entwined roots beneath my feet. I pray that I may I carry this memory and feeling of being so rooted and grounded in God’s Love and the connection of everything through His Love with me along all our journeys.

It was so nice knowing that so many of you were interested in my journey on the Appalachian Trail. I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about it. ~ Audrey

 

usathroughoureyes
64
  1. Gabe Burkhardt

    Yay! So glad you got to enjoy another section on the AT. Your description of soaking sore tired feet after a tough day in a stream was so vivid, I felt that sense of relief and peace right along with you.

    And makes me REALLY excited to be back in the states and preparing to hike a section of the Trail myself in a few weeks.

    Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • usathroughoureyes

      Awesome hearing you are okay Gabe. We hadn’t seen any post from you and were a little worried. I bet you could relate to the tired feet having hiked as many mile as you have on that trail. We are in awe of you doing the whole journey. And now to know you are readying yourself for another hike is great!!! We can’t wait to hear how it goes. My bug bites have just started disappearing, lol! No bear bites thought, I followed your advice from the post you did on attracting bears.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. RhapsodyBoheme

    I relate on each and every level to your words and your post touched my heart. You are right and as we get older the challenges are no joke at times and I have to push myself with the chronic pains these days. Yet I have never reached the end of the trail thinking that it wasn’t worth it. It is in stillness that we recharge and find a deeper connection to ourselves and our surroundings. Loved this…and so happy you got to experience this. Xo

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • usathroughoureyes

      We can only imagine how difficult it would be to wake up each day with the chronic pain. It is great to see your positive get up and go attitude. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other knowing I’d reach the end of the trail. Made me appreciate the comforts of home, lol. So glad you are along with us.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Heide

    I love the videos you include with your posts, Audrey — this one complemented your writing especially. And you’re so right to remind us that even when there are challenges we still make it to the end of the trail. If you’re anything like me, in hindsight you realize that sometimes those challenges make the trip even more rewarding. 🙂 Cheers to you and Tom as you continue your journey!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • usathroughoureyes

      Thank you so much Heide. Your kind words are very encouraging to me. You are right in that overcoming the challenges does mean so much more when one reaches the goal. Character building moments for sure, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Dippy-Dotty Girl

    How long were you on the Appalachian Trail? I might have missed out some posts, because I am a bit behind on the posts on my reader, so if you will excuse it if you have mentioned it already.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  5. anne leueen

    Thanks for sharing this. And another lovely video! About 30 years ago I trekked the Inca Trail. It was an amazing experience and also very tough with the altitude. But I had some experiences on that trail, similar to what you describe, where I knew God was a presence close by. Amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • usathroughoureyes

      Thank you Anne. Wow, you hiked the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu!!!! What a trek that must have been….Wow! Tom has friends that have a home there and are always speaking of it. Isn’t amazing how at the point of exhaustion He seems to speak, lol. We love your passion for life.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      • anne leueen

        Whenn I did the Inca Trail is was in the early 1980s and you had to carry your own tent and food etc. I think now they have people or donkeys to help with that. However when I did it I was with a group of friends and we did not see anyone else for the entire four days of the trek until we got to Machu Picchu. Now I believe there are more trekkers. However if you get a chance do go for it. If not the trek then at least take the train to see the ruins.

        Liked by 1 person

      • usathroughoureyes

        This is awesome that you made the trek Anne. I struggled with this one so I’ll have to get in better shape for that one. Isn’t it great fun though when we accomplish these ventures.

        Like

    • usathroughoureyes

      Thank you Miriam for your encouraging words. It was such a wonderful experience as are all our encounters traveling. Each adventure seems to open new awareness of who we are and we just love the folks we are meeting along the way. Folks like you that we would never have met.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  6. KathrinS

    This sounds like an incredible trip. I’m enjoying hiking in Italy with my mother this week – trips like this are a really special thing to share with family. We walked on ancient Roman trails today!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  7. Bel

    The appalachian trail is beautiful. I enjoyed the video. It is also a tough terrain and I’m glad you were able to hike through it. I may not have been as successful 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  8. robbiesinspiration

    This is such a wonderful post, Audrey. We have some amazing mountain trails in South Africa which are also tough walks like this. An amazing way to get in touch with your soul and God.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    • usathroughoureyes

      Thank you Robbie. Your encouragement is so refreshing. Oh what a dream come true to hike some of those peaks in South Africa. I know these were some real challenges for me. One never knows their strength until its put to the test. You are so right though how its great communion time walking in His garden.

      Like

      Reply
  9. Camie

    Beautifully written post! Enjoyed the video. I’d say you were up to the challenge and how sweet to feel the wonder of this spectacular world created for us.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    • usathroughoureyes

      Thank you so much Camie for taking time to share with me. Like you know from your travels and hikes the challenges can get a bit daunting. And yes it is so great seeing the spectacular world He created for us. Stay safe on your travels.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. houstonphotojourney

    How nice to also be able to do this with your siblings!! I had to giggle too at seeing someone’s Croc shoes in the video 🙂 …I still love my Crocs! They are really great as quick shoes and love you can just hose them down! I’m with you…out in nature is when I feel closest to God and clear mindset. Thanks for such an awesome post!

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
    • usathroughoureyes

      Thank you so much for making time to share with me your thoughts. Like you said, crocs are the best and I use them on the trails and our van travels. Isn’t it great when you are hiking and you feel that peace and are open to that still quiet voice of His.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • houstonphotojourney

        You should see the trunk of my car…crocs,water boots, flip flops and enough random items that you’d thing I was going on a cross country trip! 🙂 Yes, I even tried explaining that feeling recently to a friend and finally kind of came up with that for me, when I am out in nature with my camera, that is my “worship” time with God!

        Liked by 3 people

      • usathroughoureyes

        Love it. We’ve always got to be prepared and it sounds like you are too. Isn’t it wonderfully awesome to have that worship time with Him and knowing He’s smiling knowing you are appreciating the garden He designed for you to discover and share with us and the world!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • usathroughoureyes

        That’s okay. We didn’t know if you were thinking you were responding to another post. Sometimes we have done this. We’ll be reading someone’s post and the wordpress template might be the same as someone else’s and mistakenly call them by some other name. One of those “oh poop” moments, lol. Ain’t it great we are human and aren’t perfect and that God is still at work in us and we can make mistakes and laugh. Gosh we love to laugh especially at ourselves.

        Liked by 3 people

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: