This morning I pulled out the gear from my 1973/74 thru-hike—to show my grandchildren, who are curious because of Take the Path of Most Resistance. And here’s what it reminded me: how many other things are you are going to do in a long life that will seem so important that you will always hang on to the tools you used to accomplish them (through at least ten moves, in my case)? Not many, I suspect. The Appalachian Trail walk is not easy to walk away from, even forty-five years later.
I sewed on the Maine-to-Georgia patch on May 25, 1974, sitting under the Southern Terminus sign that used to mark the end of the trail on Springer Mountain. The SVEA 123 stove, btw, still lights up and cooks away. The oak hiking stick still stands in a corner of my den, ready to take on anything that needs a good smacking. And the Alp Design sleeping bag is currently in the washer, yet another attempt to flush out the lingering smell from a long-departed, pee-gleeful cat. When the bag comes out of the dryer though, I bet it will still continue to keep me warm, regardless of whatever the weather throws at it. Like my AT memories.