Tales From the Trail - "No Limitations"
My wife and I at the summit of Blood Mountain - Blairsville GA
This is the first story of a series that I'll be posting entitled Tales From the Trail. The stories themselves will be based on encounters that we had with people during our most recent vacation in the North Georgia mountains.
We were making our way down from the summit of Blood Mountain when we caught our first glimpse of the two of them. At first glance, they appeared as two normal day-hikers making their way down too; however, as we closed the distance, it was obvious that the lady was having a problem walking. Nearing even more, their age became apparent to us and they definitely weren't spring chickens! In fact, both of them appeared to be well into their 60's or 70's. I found that to be inspiring in and of itself, but what really inspired me was the brief few moments we spent talking to them. Within those few moments we learned that the two of them were regular campers at Vogel State Park and they had be making their way up from Lakeland FL for 22 years! With a smile from ear to ear, in spite of her obvious difficulty walking, she added that they had even been hiking up Blood Mountain for all of those years! Then, for a brief moment, her smile diminished as she exclaimed that she "just wasn't able to do it this time." She was obviously saddened by this and it was a bit difficult for her to hide her disappointment. But then, as quickly as it faded, that glowing smile reappeared as she spoke of the joys that she and her husband have had on that mountain. Her husband, by the way, was there holding her as she made every step. He was very astute to where she placed her foot...very cautious...very caring! We spoke about trail things, about bears, cold weather, and the views. Heck, we even talked about baseball, about the Braves, the Detroit Tigers, and Al Kaline. And somewhere mixed in all of our conversation, as if it were a mere technicality, she mentioned ever so briefly that she had scoliosis and then she never mentioned it again. We made a bit more small talk in our passing and gave way to other hikers passing through with a couple of dogs that caught her attention. Her face beamed with another beautiful smile..."Can I pet them?" was the last thing I heard her say as we continued down the mountain.
I find that the mountains affect me in a special way too. I feel so different, so alive, so complete when I am there. This story will be one in which I hope to recall whenever I feel as though I can't go on. Though she didn't say it, this lady's motto could certainly be summed up in the following statement: "The only limitations that face us are those that we place on ourselves." How true...how true.