Doug Bruns


In Family, Happiness, Life, Nature on September 24, 2011 at 10:51 am

Son Tim finished hiking the Appalachian Trail two weeks ago, all 2181 miles of it, Georgia to Maine. Four and half months of mountain trail life. It took only three or four days of city living before he grew itchy, quietly prickling at life off the trail. So, as an antidote to civilization, we set out for remote waters, canoe roof-strapped, leaving civilization behind. V.S. Pritchett wrote of a young traveler “stamping out his anxieties with his heavy boots.” Tim had had enough of heavy boots. We took up paddles.

There is much to be said about the quiet of remote waters, the call of the loon, the slip of a paddle into the mercury of morning water. There is a contemplative mediation to moving a boat with one’s own power. It is a fashion of being on the water unlike any other. Sailing comes closest, I suspect, but that is an obvious harnessing of power beyond shoulder and back. At the end of a day paddling there is nothing left but reflection.

I asked Tim what stood out most about his hiking adventure on the AT. “Freedom,” he responded without hesitation. “Every day I had the freedom to walk as far as I wanted, the freedom to camp by a brook I liked, the freedom to stop when and where I chose.” It was a simple as that. He continued, “I had everything I needed, nothing more nothing less. And every morning I got up and put on my pack and set out, completely free.”

Sunset, Aziscoho Lake

  1. Also helps to have enthusiastic supporters like Mom and Dad!

    Photo of a lifetime. Thanks!

  2. I read this a few more times and it is so touching between the words
    you wrote doug, and that moving picture I feel like I could experience
    part of what Timmy felt.
    The quote by V.S. Pritchett is such a good visual!
    Thank you for sharing

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