Monday, June 13, 2016

Back From the Dead

Before I really get into this post I must acknowledge a few things.

First, the world is a little less bright after losing our family friend Jim Goodwin, and my great-uncle Alphie Jandreau. Both men were stand up men, positive, funny, and dear to me. They will surely missed! Uncle Alphie was the last of my grandfather's siblings to pass. I'll always remember spending time at his house in Caribou swimming in his pool.

Second, I am stunned and horrified to learn of the massacre that occurred in Orlando. To call it anything other than a hate crime or a terrorist attack is nonsensical. As a member of the LGBT community, my heart goes out to the families of my brothers and sisters whose lives were taken so viciously from them. I have been very fortunate to grow up, come out, and live as an openly gay male in a fairly liberal and accepting state. However, I am hyper-vigilant of how I am perceived by those around me when I visit other places in the world. I have carried myself differently in the south and the Midwest for fear of what some nutjob around me might do. In locations where guns are so readily available, I am constantly aware of my surroundings. It is so terrifying that I still feel this way, and that also this massacre took place in what most gay people would have thought to be a "safe" space. Why is it that in this world, I am still walking around on eggshells in places, worried about what someone who doesn't like my orientation might do to me?! And for this to happen at a gay bar, I am so shocked and saddened. This is a place where gays can go to be who they are, to feel free, to feel safe... To kiss their partner without worrying if someone across the street is watching and might take offense. What if I was in Orlando on vacation this weekend? I could have been in that very bar. I really hope that if any good comes from this, it's for people to start standing up for the LGBT community and realize that we're normal people too. Those people in that club did nothing to deserve this tragic and early death... Other than be gay. The United States as a whole, needs to condemn this horrible act of violence. With this being the mass shooting with the highest death toll (horrifying that we have so many to compare,) when is it going to be enough to start regulating firearms in this country? I am a proponent of guns for the military, and for hunting or sport, but why does a civilian need an automatic rifle - other than to mow down 50 gays and lesbians in an environment they thought was safe. Or to slaughter dozens of children as they were learning - also a safe space. The time was long ago for something to be done about this... Hopefully this will be the time something IS done.

Okay, enough with that. I'M BACK ON THE TRAIL! I've covered 39.5 miles and feel pretty good! Also, I have a newly minter trail name... Lazarus! Fitting, I think. My knee doesn't feel perfect, but between my PT exercises (Thanks Scottie!), the KT tape on my knee, and doing relatively low mile days, my knee is alright. I'm hoping to ramp up the miles in the days to come. I'm doing 15miles tomorrow to test the waters. The good news, is I will be taking a zero the next day. So if pain gets bad, I'll have a day to rest. Or I can cut my miles short tomorrow and finish them on Wednesday. Overall, the hiking in Virginia has been nice! The terrain isn't too challenging, and there's been plenty of water. I truly need to thank the Seymours for helping to get me back on the trail. Bob, Marcia, and Drew picked me up at the airport, fed me, loaned me a car for a night, gave me a tour of Roanoke, and finally brought me to the trail. I am so grateful for everything they did, as they were instrumental in getting me back on the AT. While I was in Roanoke I was able to meet up with my trail family for dinner and drinks. It was so fun to catch up with them, reminisce about trail life, and exchange all of our stories from the last four weeks. They are currently about 40 miles south of me and I anticipate them to catch up around the weekend. Hoping that's enough time to get my trail legs back underneath me and be able to keep up with them.

These last few days have been lovely. I've met some super fun hikers and have shared many laughs in camp at night. Yesterday I arrived at an amazing swimming hole around midday. I was met there with the best kind of trail magic - BEER! After having a few brews, swimming in the cold mountain stream, and washing my body in said stream, I got a ride to a local hamburger joint and devoured two grilled cheeses with bacon as well as a chocolate peanut butter milk shake. It was delicious. The hard part was that I still had a three mile climb up and over a mountain to complete on a VERY full stomach. I'm proud to report that I kept all of my stomach contents where they belong. Wouldn't want to be wasting any calories.

The views have been amazing from the top of the ridges, the weather nice, and my body feeling pretty good. Now if someone could do something about the bugs... I'd be all set. Other than that, I feel great. I'm eager for my crew to catch up to me, but at the same time don't want it to be too soon - I need to be ready. So with that, go and hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, and reach out to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while. We never know what life has in store for us, or when it will be taken from us.

Love you all!

2 comments:

  1. Love you!! ❤️❤️❤️

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  2. Sad but so true words about Orlando. Thinking of you on your 'walk'. wish you well and here is to strong healthy knees! Hugs to you-Wellzie

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