• Mary Anderson

Simple Pleasures of the Trail

It is wonderful to me how the trail takes simple things and turns them into great pleasures. For example, tonight I am camped at 8,500 feet. It is cold and rainy. I am so excited about being cozy in my tent and cuddled in my sleeping bag. I even gave a squeal of delight when I got into the bag. My meal of dried spaghetti with cheese, peas, and mushrooms tasted like a hundred-dollar meal, and even though I left town without my teabags, drinking just plain hot water on this chilly night was a real treat.

I am especially happy because for two days I have been hiking with a 33-year-old, managing to keep up because she has a hurt foot. Having her in a tent nearby when the lightning is flashing two seconds before the rolling boom of thunder brings a comfort and joy that is hard-pressed to match at home.

Now that I have hiked in the dry western states, I find a geater pleasure at being able to slake my thirst. I have a greater appreciation for hiking in a green tunnel of trees, even if they do block the view. I am NOT going to complain about having wet feet. I don’t like it, especially when it is cold out, but after weeks of searching for water I am choosing to be grateful to have enough, even if it means walking through swamps that have my feet constantly wet.

It makes me think about how much more it takes to feel this content when I am surrounded by all the comforts at home. I am grateful that I have lived outside in the winter long enough to always say a prayer of thanks every time I step into a hot shower on a cold day. I have had enough physical pain in my body to be grateful when I feel I get through a day without debilitating pain. Yet still, I wonder if at home I often lose sight of the simple pleasures. I want to become more aware of all the things I take for granted, such as a nice warm toilet to sit on and clean drinking water, a woodstove for heat and a roof that mostly does not leak. I don’t ever want to lose sight of the fact that I have grown up with white privledge and enough food to maintain a healthy body. I want to remember to be grateful that I am able to do this hike. And I never want to take my friends for granted.

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