This past 2013 Labor Day holiday, I had traveled across the South East of United States for five days. In driving over 1,500 miles, I had pondered the potential around every Interstate exit, on each hiking trail, with each cold water spring, and every friendly conversation. I had been looking for something that already had been there, self.
Recalling my youth in Andros Island, Bahamas, I had asked my father, what lay beyond an exposed coral reef. For five seasons of diving trips, my father had answered,” We’ll stop there on the way back.” Those adventures had never ended gazing down a 500 foot dropoff into the Tongue of the Ocean. In retrospect, my father had been wise in avoiding the potential dangers of the dark waters of the Atlantic. What had remained, a curiosity of the unknown.
For quite a few years, journeying around had lost a certain appeal, perhaps all those years of relocation in a Navy family. In limiting my horizons, I had found ways to limit liability and experiences with responsibilities (i.e, work, friends, family, time); However, what had been life’s worth without facing some fear and some danger.
Early on in this trip, I had been confronted with the challenge of marching through a flooded hiking trail. What unforeseen danger had been waiting to attack around the next corner. In the end, the theme of man versus nature had affirmed a choice, a belief to press on. This precedent, built on curiosity, had characterized other decisions regarding this journey. One of those had been missing a tour of the Florida Caverns in West Florida. The other had been a failed fuel pump on my red 1996 Ford Explorer. Both of these events had fueled a greater determination to make it to the mountains surrounding Brasstown Bald. Without these setbacks, I had wondered if I bother traveling to the highest point in Georgia.
Periodically, life had shaken my faith in friendships, God and self-worth, but, the question had been about pressing on. Some state coincidence that all these events had occurred with convenience and rhythm. I had chosen to entertain a belief beyond self, a will beyond my own. This will had been forged long ago in a foreign land, to keep trying, to keep reaching. The question of this adventure had I done it all alone? Believe!
Tongue of the Ocean (Wikipedia)
Andros Island, Bahamas (Wikipedia)
Brasstown Bald (Wikipedia)
Florida Caverns (Florida State Parks)