In the next four months I hiked with nearly a dozen other hiking groups (and random people I met on the internet). I hiked with botanists, college kids, athletic guys who flew up mountains, a firefighter, a lady who talked nonstop, and many other wonderful, fascinating people. I learned to be open. I learned to look beyond superficial differences and connect with people from different backgrounds. I kept searching for my tribe. I was looking for people that would be more than just people to hike with. I wanted friendship and community.
When I showed up at Woody Gap on an early spring day for my first hike with the Trail Dames, I was filled with uncertainty. What would they think of me? Could I hike at my own pace? Would I be accepted? It turned out that I smiled and laughed the whole time and felt more relaxed with them than I had in a very long time. It wasn't my typical hiking pace, but I was eager to join them again.
|View from Blood Mountain, my first AT hike in Georgia|