“I slept at the feet of a giant last nite” by Michele Zehr

Michele Zehr is a member of the Trail Dames Board of Directors and she is also the head Dame of the Central Virginia Trail Dames.

Michele’s trail name is Certain and she finished her Appalachian Trail (AT) hike in 2008.  It would be safe to say that Michele has one of the most popular Trail Journals of all time.

Michele has given us permission to post her journal entry from October 8, 2008 – the day she submitted Mt. Katahdin.  She also has a wonderful video showing her final ascent.

I slept at the feet of a giant last nite

A giant that for so so long has reflected back to me
My fears and pain and disappointments
As well as the raw beauty of nature

As I lay there awake in the nite
Feeling its presence looking down upon me
I wondered if it was ready to receive what I had to offer to it

So before the sun shed its light on the morning sky, I rose
One last time
I exposed my bare skin to the frigid fall air
One last time
I packed the things that would keep me alive out here
One last time
I strapped my pack on my back
One last time
And I started walking north again
One last time

I passed a rushing stream with crystal clear pools
I stood next to a roaring waterfall with endless cascades

I struggled over boulders the size of buildings
And scaled the sides of rock faces that hung on the ends of the Earth

I finally made it to the shoulders of this giant
And walked across its cracked red surface

Then climbed one final time

I walked right to the top and looked this giant in the eye
And whispered
“Thank you, my friend…thank you”

And at that moment
The giant unfolded its bouldery arms
And cupped its rocky snow covered hands
And allowed me to place my fears and pain and disappointments into it

The giant took these things that I had offered
And folded them inside to be held forever
Leaving me with my joy
And a deep deep appreciation for the beauty of nature and this trail

So I turned south
And started walking away for good
And I suddenly felt choked
I stopped for a moment, stumbled and gasped
And my tears dropped to the ground beneath me

Then a surge came rushing through my nostrils
And into my lungs
And filled my veins and body with pure fresh air

I knew
At that moment
The giant had released me from its clutches

And I was free to breathe again.



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