Friday, June 29, 2012

Q is for Quiddity

Tuesday, June 19, 2012:

The Appalachian Trail has a simple quiddity (a seldom used but elegant term for 'essence', or literally 'what-ness'.  It is a walkway best negotiated by foot.  It tests and tries the feet that venture upon it.  And in turn nature is forever testing it - trying to take it back.  Here, the beavers have undone a bit of it.  But the feet - at least the ones that prefer to stay dry - have found a way around.

But I hiked with 'Corky' for a while today.  Hiking in Crocs, she rambled right through the water here, never losing stride.  She's finishing the trail this year after starting it in June of last year.

And I stopped and chatted with 'TK' (Twisted Knickers) and 'Match Box' for probably the tenth time.  They have been doing a twelve-day section, and I believe I've met them almost every one of those days.  Sadly, today was the last.  I'll miss them, because they'll always be a part of the quiddity of the trail for me.

Only here can you expect to meet someone ten times in twelve days, many miles apart.  It's that quiddity. The trail is a strange one-dimensional world, where you are either in front of, behind, or with someone, but you can be certain you are on the same course. The quiddity of the trail is such that what's ahead can be discussed with precision and certainty, and yet where the delight is in discovering exactly what that is, when you'll get there, and how you'll react to it.

Today Baker Peak was the highlight.  It is a classic exposed bedrock ridge, complete with bad weather bypass trail and wonderful views.

Other highlights included Griffith Lake, where the flooding occurred.  The rest of the long puncheon-walk beside the lake was well-behaved.

The boards on the brand-new suspension over Big Branch still look fresh out of the lumberyard.  And I had the chance to visit four shelters in just 7.7 miles of AT.

Yes, today's hike is a good prototype for the quiddity of my day-hiking adventure - some people stories, some rocky high points and some bogged-down lows, and always walking ... always onward along that strange single strand of well-trampled real estate: 2184.2 miles long and just a few feet wide.


Here's today's map with a link to more photos:

AT Day 157 - Baker Peak at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find hiking trails in California and beyond

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