By Suzanne “Cricket” Binelli
I am absolutely not lacking for things to be grateful for this year. At home, one of my three dogs continues to do well after being diagnosed with terminal tumors a year ago and my oldest pup will soon celebrate her 17th birthday. One of my two cats went to the vet, died, was brought back to life and is back to standing on my head at 1am. That was a rough one, but a happy ending! My three daughters are all happy and healthy and my mom continues to order me around as she approaches year 82 on the planet. At work, my department has been fortunate to perform consistently well, and I have a great team of co-workers that I truly enjoy working with.
It has been over 2.5 years since I found the APT on Facebook and almost a year since joining the Board. An exciting time of learning more about the workings of a nonprofit as well as how you build a trail. I’ve watched the groups grow on social media and had the privilege of interacting with many of you online or in email. I look forward to the possibilities of meeting in person (think Conference 2023!) or maybe working with you as the APT grows. If you are in New England, give me a shout and we will go for a hike!
I finally stood in the same space as the Man himself, Rue McKenrick, over the summer in PA and consider him not just my Executive Director but also a friend. One of the greatest pleasures is watching someone with a dream make it a reality and to be able to help and encourage someone to do so is truly satisfying.
As I have said several times before, I am so grateful to be part of this project. Rue shared in our membership meeting that we have been speaking with a Connecticut trail organization and there is a map that is being looked at for the Connecticut trail. I know, the route on the map skips Connecticut. That is about to change!!!
I’m also grateful for learning about and getting to know Amy and Alex from Wilderness Mindset. Not only are they truly kind, but their videos have also really made me think about life from a different perspective, I look forward to meeting them in person, hopefully in 2023.
As I write, I am thinking about the photos that the APT community has shared of their travels which makes us feel close even though we are all spread out across time zones. How fortunate for so many of you to be able to travel and spend time with nature and friends. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am also thinking of those who have shared plans for 2023, can’t wait to come along for the ride with your photos and videos. Then there are those, such as myself, who have not climbed any mountains (we really don’t have those here in Connecticut) nor have we done a thru-hike (I’m a section hiker and am okay with it!) or traveled anyplace outside of a 150-mile radius. We still spent important time outside, hugging trees, and admiring rocks. Our local land trusts need us! The APT is for and needs everyone, and we are grateful you are all here with us.
Always remember people who have helped you along the way, and don’t forget to lift someone up.Roy T. Bennett