Reflections Archives - Appalachian Mountain Club

Reflections

As a teenager, I struggled with alcohol addiction. I was able to find my healing by going back to what my Nipmuc ancestors called the Original Instructions. These are the teachings that instill our sacred place in the world: the renewal and remembering of our intimate relationship to all the life forces in the universe….

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We arrived at AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut after a long, steep climb. Warm tea and rest waited inside, but we pushed onward, to watch the sun set over the White Mountains’ 360-degree views. I marveled at the light turning the alpine leaves aglow. The day’s hike had been grueling, with rock scrambles difficult…

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It’s 3 a.m., and I’m huddled in my car. Outside the safety of this metal box, Mother Nature is releasing her wrath. Rain and snow are pouring sideways; the wind roars with a vengeance; and thunder and lightning boom, crash, and flash like dueling percussionists in the sky. In the distant shadows, I see my…

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The second morning of our weeklong hike in the White Mountains was blue-sky beautiful. Standing with my group outside AMC’s Greenleaf Hut, I bent over to tighten the laces of my boots while our leaders outlined the hike ahead. It would be the most challenging day of the trip, and we were lucky not to…

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Dale Sanders, better known on the Appalachian Trail as Greybeard, carries on a conversation while regarding you with two of the brightest eyes you’ve ever seen, with genuine curiosity about who you are. He makes friends quickly and keeps them easily: hundreds in person and hundreds more who, never having met him, know him by…

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One night last spring, curled in my tent on an island off the Maine coast and lit only by the glow of my iPhone screen, I posted a photograph on Instagram. This was my fifth post on the photosharing site but my first from such a remote location. As I hit “share,” I felt a…

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The morning was cold and gray, and the air felt heavy, like electricity pulsed through it—like waiting, wondering, restless movement. It smelled like water and leaves or maybe early snow. As the sun painted blazes through the fog, I began to make out motionless black forms on the filmy expanse of water, between the oranges…

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I spent the first day of 2017 filling my lungs with crisp winter air near New Paltz, N.Y., with two fellow rock climbers. That morning, the three of us had trudged through empty woodland and ground covered by 4 inches of fresh snow to the quartz cliffs, where the freezing rock—in some places, still covered…

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Michael wears a bright red Arcteryx jacket when we hike. He’s a lot faster than me, and I’ve lost track of the number of trips where I’ve seen that red dot moving ahead. When I see it stop, I know he has reached the top of the ascent. He has waited for me in cold,…

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I tested HIV positive when I was 27 years old. It was 1992 and at the time, I thought the diagnosis was a death sentence. As a gay man trapped in the closet and struggling to come out, life was difficult. I had no job, no support network, and—I thought at the time—no future. In order to…

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