Places Foreign and Familiar
Some travel experiences result in books. Some only in vivid personal memories. In History Hikes of the Smokies, you won’t hear how my hiking partner and I clawed our way up a muddy bank way off-trail, after the fourth crossing of Forney Creek in a raging thunderstorm. At the fifth, and last crossing, I cried: the creek was boiling whitewater over giant boulders, the far bank was far.
Slipping and sliding from one slick boulder to another, tearing my poncho and breaking a hiking stick, I finally made it three-fourths across and looked down to where a log had lodged in an eddy between rocks. From the log, a fat frog stared up, goggle-eyed and gulping pleasedly as if to say, “Fabulous weather, wot?” I laughed, oh I laughed.
Aren’t these the experiences that spur us to travel? Experiences that make us feel original and alive. Experiences banked for future story telling, whether in books or just among friends.