This is another piece for my creative non fiction writing course I'm taking with Will Gray at Fort Lewis College. I decided to write about my friends Maura and Al, who will be hiking the AT trail later this year.
My friends Al and Maura are preparing for six months on the Appalachian Trail; they seem to be searching for something, and for their true selves. I spent the last five days with them during their visit out west, and I wish more Americans had their honesty, ambition and sense of responsibility for the planet. We spent every moment possible in the outdoors during their trip, mostly out at Indian Creek canyon, a red rock utopia for rock climbers, situated on the southern edge of Canyonlands.
Al has been a close friend for a few years now. He’s a very reflective soul, one who always questions his actions, and the actions of other human beings on the planet. He’s concerned about the state of the world, and picks up trash as often as he can. So does Maura, his dreadlocked sweetheart. Their ambitions on the trail include restoring areas when needed. Their carbon footprint will certainly be decreased with months and months of walking. Their minds and souls will transport to spiritual places they never imagined before the journey.
Maura tells me everyone on the trail is given a trail name; her enthusiasm is unbounded. I think walking that long would be boring, but her excitement has me intrigued, and captivated. She’s a new friend; this is our first adventure together. I know Al better. I know after two years in the east he’s discovered his true self belongs out west. But first, before returning, he will take a walk in the woods.