Monday, November 9, 2009

Out of the Woods

It was last Monday when I stepped off of Highway 321 and marched into the Blue Ridge Mountains, and now, a week later, I stumbled out, limping slightly and more energized than ever.

I stayed in seclusion the entire time, not seeing a single person while out there, and yet I never felt lonely. I went to the most secluded place in North Carolina to NOT see people and I got just what I expected as far as that is concerned.

After a week of reflection and self-evaluation, I've made several decisions concerning myself, decisions that should change how I live the rest of my life. I came to realize that much of what I had done in the past was selfish and many other things only held me back. I can't live that way any longer and, now matter how difficult, I must make changes.

Parts of me, parts I didn't like, I intend to leave behind in those hills. Hopefully I can break certain habits and move forward in a more positive manner with my life. Hopefully, my time in the valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains will have left a permanent mark on my soul.

It's a magical place, peaceful and quiet except in the late afternoon when the wind whips over the ridge and rushes down into the valley, roaring and flinging leaves in every direction. Simply beautiful. Deer and turkey can be seen every single day and if you sit still enough, they'll walk within feet of you, eating and exploring.

I built no fires while I was there, chopped down only one small tree to use as a crutch after straining a muscle, and left no trace that I have ever walked into that area... which is more than I can say for some people. I found a bulldozer trail in that valley. Ruin is coming to the most remote area of North Carolina. That magical place will soon be pocked with summer homes for the retirees of Florida and scarred with roads.

I don't plan to ever visit that place again. It was so beautiful and did so much good for me, I'd rather remember it as it is now, not how it will be in a year. Right now it's bruised. I won't visit that place once civilization has raped it.

I have a new destination in mind and mus move quickly. I've set new challenges for myself and I must see if I can meet them. Now I'm back to the Road.


Midassa said...

So, so, sooooo glad to read a new blog from you! I'm happy to hear you're no worse for the wear and did get what you wanted out of the experience! I simply wish you wouldn't have seen ANY trace of humanity. It sounds like a wonderful spot that soon will be 'civilized'. At least you were able to see it before that happened. You'll always have the memory of its beauty to carry with you.

Paula said...

We went to Costa Rica several years ago. Stayed at this secluded hotel, beautiful, beautiful place. While we were there a guest died on the beach. My husband came back to the cabana and told me not to go to the beach right now. I thought he was kidding, I thought it would ruin my vacation.

Aside from great sorrow for the man's family (we had not met this person), it added a depth of appreciation to the vacation and the value of beauty and not taking it for granted.

I hiked in the state park yesterday, a storm has come through recently and a few more trees are down, yet among the brokenness new plant life is emerging. I hate to see it when man breaks the beauty of nature, yet somehow I hope that it will drive us to appreciate and protect the few parts of real wilderness that is left.

May you continue to enjoy your journey.

Rachel Ardoin said...

WOW!!! Jason I am so glad that you are getting what you wanted out of this trip!! You have sure shared some next stories!! We at KMI sure do miss you and we all read your blog every new update you post!! Well I wish you well on your next journey and keep us posted!!! I sure do miss your crazy ass at work!!!


Michael Foux said...

Been thinking about you alot this week. I miss calling you on my way home.

I'm glad to hear about this part of your trip, and it hurts me to think about the "progress" you found there. For all the whining about the environment that everyone seems to be doing, no one seems to mind tearing it all down in an effort to get closer to it.

We kill what we love.

Gracie said...

We're glad to hear from you again! (and glad you didn't get eaten by bears or deer or wild turkeys).

On the civilization side of things, you should see the NaNo group this year. It's huge.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

-- Gracie

capybaramom said...

I took Rocco to the vet Monday for his shots and he's gained 7 lbs. since last year. I think he misses you and is eating to ease the pain of separation. In reading about your experience in the wilderness, I'm reminded of a book I just read that you will definitely be interested in when you get back.
The title is "Look What Happened While You Were Asleep". It's a must read. I'll leave it at that. No explanation will suffice.
Love you and wish you were already back!

Bridget Delaney said...

Good to hear from you! Such a place sounds beautiful and I'd love to see deer and turkeys. However, I don't like being alone. I can be "alone" as long as I know people are in the area - but not too much alone. I don't like that. Glad you got what you wanted, though.