For me, this project also feels like an opportunity for my children. I have twin daughters, just shy of 3 years old, and they love hiking. They strap their boots on and ask me where we’re going today. We’ll work our way to a viewpoint, or find our way around a swamp, or just go for a long walk through the woods. I have never seen my girls more at peace and in their element than when we are on the trail. But it worries me, because what lies ahead? I offered to help Leilah and Rue, and am so glad they welcomed me aboard, giving me the chance to take part in securing this serenity for my children, and all the generations to come after us. And of course to partake in protecting lands and natural resources for the species call the outdoors their home.
Some of my favorite experiences ever have been while on trail. Earlier this summer I brought one of my girls on a hike, just the two of us, and she reached her first little summit. Watching her work on the scrambles up and the look of pride on her face when we reached the top and I told her “you did it!” were truly priceless. With my other daughter, we spent a day examining the wildflowers and insects along a trail in a local state park. She was fascinated by the bees, butterflies, and other bugs and pointed out all the different colors and shapes of the plants they were going to. I think that was one of the greatest learning experiences we’ve had. And for me, I’ve reached some personal goals this year on trail and the time spent in the woods to reflect on what’s gotten me there is what helps me pull myself out of my daily stressors and feel a deep sense of belonging and satisfaction for the time I’m out there. All of these moments were crucial to my mental health, and to my kids’ happiness and learning. The APT has the ability to bring moments like these to more and more people in communities across this country, and that is just one benefit of this project.
I am a Connecticut resident and hope to meet other northeast APT community members when it is safe to do so. Until then, I look forward to sharing experiences with you all in the Facebook group and interacting online as the American Perimeter Trail grows.