Something Slightly Unexpected

Well, there you have it, my plans have gone awry.

And it’s very strange because usually I would beat myself up over the fact I had formulated plans and made grand announcements and then not carried them out; but for some reason in this case, that didn’t happen at all. I feel completely at ease with not going and trudging in the mud and being eaten by bugs for no real reason or further enjoyment.

But what I did experience, and felt amazement over, was that I did have this total inner epiphany; well maybe not that but more of an overwhelming inner confirmation that when I chose to hike the Appalachian Trail, I did so for a certain purpose. And even though I wouldn’t be able to adequately express in words wholly what that purpose was, I can tell you that every morning I woke up and knew that I was there because I was supposed to be.

Even though I might have gone through some incredibly tough and rough spots, I never, ever woke up with the feeling that being in the woods and devoting myself to attempting to hike 2,200 miles was not the right thing to do.  In fact I am now 100% certain that it was the right decision to have made and the right time in my life to be doing just that.

I also now realise with such startling clarity that I have never felt that type of certainty before in my life, or in fact since then. Even with my current travels.

So here is my take away from two days of hiking in the Porkies, that I share with you now….

Some of the most beautiful parts of nature you will only see, experience and appreciate when you work hard for them.

Deep down inside, when something is right, you know it’s right – in whatever form that takes.

Now go outside and enjoy it, while Loops and I head off towards the Michigan border to find some more adventures to share to you!

Let’s get ready to hike!

So, we made it safely to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan and now it’s time to get the kit together for some hiking.

And because I’m a little geeky over my kit, let me talk you through what I’ll be carrying…

Ps. I apologise now for any poor quality or sound in the upcoming videos, sadly I don’t have any decent software for converting and so it’s not the highest quality, but hopefully will do the job sufficiently!

Mountains, ho!

One of the reasons I think I have been enjoying the UP so far, and finding it such a refreshing place to visit, is that in some ways it feels rather removed from what I consider to be mainstream America. The lifestyle in the areas we have passed through feels more laidback with a slower pace of life than I have experienced anywhere else; and there is little evidence of the mass consumerism and sprawling cities and suburbs that are littered about in the other states we have passed through.

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A Day by the Lake

If there is one place on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that people fully expect you to visit during your time there, it is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I do believe that it may be written into one of their state laws or something that if you fail to avail yourself of the multi-coloured rock cliffs on the southern shore of Lake Superior, state officials are fully entitled to tie you to a wooden stake, dress you in an Ohio football uniform and allow people to throw pasties at you and boo you. It’s true. ‘Boooo’, they say.

With that fate on the line (and remembering how large the pasties are), we decide to see what all of the fuss is about and check out their rocks.

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An unexpected emotional rollercoaster

When I wish to remember something, there are two ways in which this can happen.
I can recall a person, place, event or whatever it may be as a normal memory in my mind; that is, one in my head which may have colour, sound and motion. An instant replay version if you will, a past scene being re-enacted. I can pull these types of memories to the forefront of my mind and think about them any time I choose.
The other types of memories I hold are of feelings; the emotional state of mind that I have at the time I am experiencing something. These aren’t the type of memory that I can instantly repeat or reply, after all I simply can’t make myself have a repeated feeling no matter how hard I might try; that’s not how these things work. On the other side of that, I might not even realise that something has had such a profound effect on me at the time. However, if these feelings are strong enough when they occur and imprint my mind, I find can often lead to a profound sense of déjà vu at times, where I’ll stop in my tracks and try to work out why I have the sense that I have felt this exact same way before.

And that’s precisely what happens to me one mid-afternoon as I cycle around the small town of Grand Marais, Michigan, perched on the shores of Lake Superior.

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