I’m writing from a Mellow Mushrooms in Gatlinburg TN. Just finished a huge pizza so if my writing is disjointed blame it on the insulin rush.
I passed mile 207 two days ago and am halfway through the Smokies. The Smokies have been really fun. Lots of wildlife, lots of great views, I just wish the mountains weren’t so tall ?
The Purposeless Life
This passage from The Way of Zen resonated with me. It describes my path on the trail perfectly. I have a end goal of Katadhin but no real firm purpose day to day aside from walking.
And because I am not fixated on a specific itinerary I’m open to unexpected and unplanned experiences.
I had the most interesting day yesterday. I got to meet bald eagles and spent the afternoon riding rollercoasters in Dollywood(for free).
Last week I spent a few days hiking with Julia, Tyler, and Melanie. Julia was doing a section and then returning to her job at the American Eagle Foundation. They are a conservatory that helps rehabilitate raptors, including bald eagles and golden eagles. They’re based out of Pigeon Forge, TN.
So when I got to Gatlinburg Julia took me on a tour of the foundation. Seeing these giant eagles face to face was an amazing experience. It’s difficult to comprehend the size and ferocity of eagles without seeing them in person.
The conservatory provides Dollywood with eagles for their shows and so they have loads of free passes. A day of eagles and free rollercoasters? I couldn’t pass that up!
All told it was a fantastic day.
And it was possible because I’m not stuck on making miles. I keep thinking back to those miserable 19 year olds who were pushing 20 miles a day. They wouldn’t have stopped to see eagles or ride rollercoasters. That would have thrown them off schedule.
I say throw away your schedule. Forget your carefully laid plans. Take life as it comes. Say yes to opportunities. Go visit eagles.
The universe can craft a much more interesting life for you than your most careful plans. Everything is already taken care of. Your role is to sit back, let go, and enjoy the ride.
I’m headed back into the Smokies today. My next stop will be Hot Springs to enjoy the river and a soak.
Oh I have to share these photos from the Fontana Dam shelter, aka the Fontana Hilton. The shelter was situated right on the lake and I was able to capture an insane sunrise on camera.
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