Nantahala National Forest___Cold/Light Snow___10:25AM
I stepped out into the cold air, closing the car door behind me. Looking up, the mature trees stared down at me with the same indifference as that first time I visited them years ago. Bringing my eyes down, I focused my attention on the worn groove disappearing into the forest. This familiar footpath would take to me back to the Smoky Mountains, if I walked long enough. Continuing northbound, Maine would inevitably come back into view. The land I would nestle into for the summer was only a few minutes from this path, only a short jaunt from the Appalachian Trail.
Walking north from the trailhead, I reminisced the thru-hike of 2015. I thought of who I was before and how this path of dirt reinforced those dreams that, at one time, remained dormant in my mind. I might have finished the AT years ago, but it didn’t seem to be finished with me. The trail climbed steadily up from Burningtown Gap. The snow covered landscape convinced me that Spring might, again, run from the calendar’s yearly prescription. I was content with any outcome.
Happy to be following white blazes, I continued north for another mile…