soul of a hiker.
Atlanta, 1975


intro.
In my twisted little mind, I want it to rain just a little harder, the

wind to blow just a little harder. I don't just want to see it, I want to

hear it, feel it, taste it, smell it. What is it I'm looking for here? Wilderness?

If there really is such a thing, then my search begins and ends with my senses.

solo.
My first AT thru hike attempt. I was out paced by my hiking partner. Different 
styles; go and go slow. I was the latter. I hooked up with a retired school principal for a 
few weeks, John Collins, between 60 and 80 years old. He seemed a little pleased by my 
situation. He gave me my trail name, Solo. Old John wasn't much of a talker. He taught
me a little about learning with my eyes and ears. I bought a 63 Chevy panel truck in
Irwin, TN from a local lawyer for $350 and headed home. The last time I saw old John 
was at the YMCA. I guess I've expanded on his lesson some since then.

choices and adaptations.
Thich Nhat Hanh shows us that our five senses, plus practical thought (cold- get warm, 
hungry- eat), are the very foundations of our existence. Everything else is a distraction 
from the path. It's like the 'joy of a child' state we often refer to; a sensory state
with no distractions. Solo and childlike is the unencumbered way we came out of the 
womb. All of the choices and adaptations we've made since then are just distractions
that we've chosen to accept. We can release all distractions through the breath.

the search for wilderness.
It's just a metaphor really. The path with few distractions and lots and lots of sensory 
input. I want it to rain just a little harder, the wind to blow just a little harder. Isn't 
what I'm really saying is I want my senses to be on edge so I'll be reminded that I have 
senses, that I'm alive, that I was once a child?

Old John has probably passed now, but he left something good behind with a stranger;
See the rain fall...hear the wind blow...breathe in...breathe out...

Solo



^ climb up.

​​​pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail

a southern region appalachian trail connector

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current weather @ pinhoti trail mid-point / 181.3 ~ cave spring trailhead