This post requires a little background of my life to set the scene. I grew up in a very small town. Fact: There were more cows than people in the population for the year I was born. On top of that, my parents lived about ten minutes from “downtown.” They still do, which now, I love. When I was an eleven year old, snowed-in and missing the most important sleepover of my life?! Not so much…
Directions to our house include turning right at the red barn. Need I say more?
To occupy our days, my older brother and I would ride bikes and play in the woods surrounding our house. We’d have secret club meetings with the few other neighborhood kids in the clearing by the babbling brook. I lay under the trees, listening to the wind whispering sweet-nothings to the leaves and dream of the day when I’d live “in town” and be able to walk over to my best friend’s house.
When I turned 16, my brother away at college, I was allowed to choose a destination to visit during Easter break. It had to be within a day’s drive and I could bring one friend. Without hesitation, I chose Carrie and New York City. And we had to get tickets for Tommy, The Who’s rock opera on Broadway. See, we (meaning me) had a HUGE crush on her neighborhood friend, who happened to be a couple years older and very into The Who. We’d listened to the soundtrack over and over. (It was tough, but we did manage to score last minute tickets for the ninth row…my poor parents, they had no idea what they were in for!)
That trip altered the course of my life. I no longer wanted to go to Penn State. I wanted to go to NYU and roller blade around the greatest city in the world like we did in Central Park during that trip. Even though I decided (slightly out of fear) to go to school in New Jersey and not NYU, moving to Manhattan has been one of the greatest decisions of my life (I ended up ditching my skates long before this move).
My childhood dream has been realized, I can now walk to anything “in town”. If I can’t, it’s a short subway ride and unless there is a hurricane, it doesn’t shut down. I am never “snowed-in.” That desperate feeling like I am missing out is long gone.
And now the sick twist of this story: I miss the woods. I long for that feeling of escaping, to hear the wind whispering to the leaves, to scamper along a path and come across a blueberry patch.
Thankfully, I have found a boyfriend who loves the woods (and city) as much as me. When we’ve reached our threshold of Irish pubs and crowded sidewalks (about once a month), we have found it is very easy to exit this city on its wonderful mass transit and within an hour or two, be smack on the side of a trail leading to blissful solitude. Most of the time, it’s just us. But this past weekend, we did something a little different and joined a meet-up group headed to the Connecticut-Massachusetts border for a 20-mile backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail. (This is our sixth AT hike…we have completed the New York section and are slowly conquering New Jersey!) Being amongst fellow backpackers who appreciate the wilderness as much as us was a nice change, and I’m glad Steve has made some hiking buddies for we will soon be entering Wedding-Photographer-Widower season :)
With no more ado…a brief photo-recap of our trek!
This was such a pretty section of the AT, even more so with the remaining snow of winter. Thank goodness for microspikes!
My eleven-year-old self is content to be in the city, and so am I. So long as I can still escape from time to time…