Country roads…. take me home…. to the place I belong! West Virginia…..
Yes, that is where I currently am and I cannot get that beloved John Denver song out of my head. I looked at a map the other day. I mean a map of the entire country. Holy shit balls have I traveled a long way! And here I am, in the hills of West Virginia, watching my breath as it leaves my body, wrapped up in so many layers I lost track, and happy as fucking hell to be back out on the road.
Stop right there – if you are one of the family members or friends that I visited, you have to just chill. Just because I am happy to be out on the road does not take one single thing away from our time together. This happiness does in no way diminish the happy times I had with you. There is room for both to be fulfilling and joyous and awesome. I was off the road about three weeks in all and now I feel like I am home. You know, like when the rest of you travel away from your jobs and houses and then you come back? That is what I am feeling. Back home.
It is gorgeous out here and cold and filled with fresh air. I am risking the cold because it is awesome and I have a hike tomorrow to a lookout point that I am excited about. I can hear traffic, so I know the highway is not far. I have seen a couple people and heard some just a bit ago. I feel isolated, but not too bad. I have my pit toilet and fire ring all for the glorious price of $10 per night. This is what I am talking about!
I am feeing like the luckiest girl in the world to be here doing this thing having spent that time with my people. I saw the vast majority of my cousins, spent time with sisters, niece and nephews, and reconnected with my oldest friend ever. I got lazy, ate and drank too much, hiked and biked and explored. I am full up and know, deep inside, that I have put yet another of my goals to bed. I feel connected to people I had lost connection with. I feel like I have a much better understanding of their lives and a deeper sense of who they are and what they are about. I describe it as “putting my fingers all over your life”. It was amazing.
I was and am ready to continue on my way. I needed to get back out, to get back to myself and to get back home. My home. This vast expanse that welcomes my return.
So, here I am in my tent in my chair wrapped up like a swaddled babe. I found a sunny outcropping with a view and communed with nature, let my spirit soar, reconnected with all things outside. The rocks were high enough for a fabulous view of the fall colors and the sun was slowly setting in the distance. It was magical.
I was close to not staying here. I nearly drove away. It was already cold when I got out of the car, as I was warned. But, holy shit it was so pretty and so sunny. I chose to tough it out and wear as many clothes as I needed. I am only staying two nights, though, so that is a good compromise. I will find warmer places when I leave.
For now, I am happy and a little chilly and getting tired and I am excited. Oh, and I have to pee. Fortunately, I can cheat and use my LEAVE NO TRACE practices (that is all code for I can pee just outside the tent). A little cold will not diminish this beautiful place and the quiet it brings.
Cheers to that!