Healing In Nature


I would lie on my back as a child in a blanket of grass and watch the sun breathe on my face; this would come to be one of the fondest moments of my childhood, a revenue of peace. We crafted forts from fallen sticks and decaying leaves; magic was always around us. Growing up was to learn how to be outdoors and love it. Climbing trees turned to sit quietly under one. To step from one rock to another to cross the creek was a favorite game. I always found water appealing, whether shimmering slowly or whitening the blue waves, and sitting by water brought me instant relief. To go under and come up for air, cleansing in the process. Problems would quiet by sitting along the shoreline and fixing your eyes upon a focal point ahead. I noticed my body, mind, and heart became more open after working through and releasing the trauma I had held onto for years. It was June when I started my section hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT); the temperatures were in the upper eighties. After reading articles, surveying statistics, and talking to former AT thru-hikers who had completed the trail in previous years, I decided to hike a section of the AT in Virginia. Virginia is my home state and the parts of the trail that pass through it have always intertwined with my personal and professional life. Crabtree Falls is the highest vertical-drop waterfall east of the Mississippi and is found in Nelson County, Montebello, Virginia. The falls feature five significant cascades and several smaller ones. A side trail leads 1.2 miles from the upper falls to the AT.

Backpacking with Sailor Sailor is a golden retriever, fond of water in any form. When I initially planned my trip on the AT, I tailored my journey to be appropriate, healthy, and exciting for a dog since Sailor was joining me as my companion. Therefore, I structured my trip to be close to the water supply. I was transported to the trail and arrived towards the evening to set up camp by Crab Creek. The bugs were terrible, and it was a massive attempt to get in and out of the tent without letting in our little visitors. Dinner was a bagel and peanut butter that night. I offered some to Sailor in addition to his usual dog food, which would be the only time. Sailor accepted my bagel and peanut butter. The morning was a slow awakening, a simple joy of backpacking alone. You can establish your routine by telling time by the sun and the moon. I planned to hike roughly eight miles daily, providing a comfortable pace. With it being Sailor's first time backpacking, we frequently stopped to re-adjust and transfer weight from his pack to mine, which ultimately became the only backpack.

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