From my midmorning snack spot, a leafy alcove on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in northwest Connecticut, I can’t see the Housatonic River. But I can hear it coursing down below, underneath the lush riparian canopy of sycamores. Before long, another noise interrupts my solitude: tromping boots, as a pair of south-bound hikers join me on the…

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A predawn light has begun to brighten the eastern horizon, but I still need my headlamp as I scramble along under a cloak of maples and oaks. I make up time on a clear stretch of trail but immediately slow down again to avoid stumbling on loose stones. I’m hurrying because I’m late. I was…

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I leaned into the wind and pushed toward the dark shape materializing in the fog, squinting to keep my eyes free from blowing snow. Tears streamed across my cheeks, and my beard froze. Ice-coated stones stacked to eye level slowly came into focus. Then another blurry silhouette appeared in the distance. Reassured by their presence,…

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