The Appalachian Trail is the longest "hiking only" footpath in the world, and extends from Georgia to Maine. Some of our favorite places to hike in North Carolina cross-cross the AT here and there. This painting is from one of my favorite balds near the border of Tennessee.
Living as an artist in Western North Carolina, the Appalachian Trail is never far, and is always an inspiration for my oil paintings. I simply never run out of creative fodder! In thinking about this awesome trail, and the amazing adventures found upon it, the landscapes, the trees, the rivers and the mountains, it seemed like I needed a poem to really do it justice. (See some of my favorite hikes in the area)
The month of February I will begin
a trek through woods as wide as the seas,
from the foothills of Georgia
to rock altars in the mountains of Maine,
a pilgrimage of whole hearted discovery.
I shall walk on this Appalachian trail,
following the blazes of white,
beneath the wide open sky,
gazing north, always north
across wide rivers, rocky ridges, and green meadows.
Twenty-two hundred miles it is,
twenty-two hundred miles to reach the end.
From this point on I now must find the will
to go onward every day until Autumn’s chill,
with the last days my youth has left to lend me.
And in these lonely months of walking,
when I’m lost amidst fog draped mountain peaks
timeless truths I hope to find as I am quiet and just listen --
to the whisper of branches, the gurgling of the stream,
the roaring wind -- listen for The Voice. He is here.
This trail I trek not because I’m bold or brave,
but from fear of that days when I've grown old,
I will with regret, I’ll only quietly sigh
because of the unlived life that has passed me.
This is an adventure is not one I can ignore.
While I do not know if I shall succeed,
I do ask the reader -- listen!
Live your one-time Life. Really live!
And should you find your path twine across my own,