The day dawned bright and early; the falling rain soaked the ground. A grey sky hung over the space, while below, parents and skiers alike gathered to begin a new mission: to get from Hartford to Norwich in order to find refuge at a small pond and take a swim.
This mission would not be easy; miles of rocks, roots, and hills lay ahead. These woods were choked with trees and shrouded in darkness and the rain; it did not simply fall, but seemed to pour forth from the sky. However, a brave group had assembled; familiar faces who had fought through much before; those faces of Enrique, Perrin, Johanna, Sara, Margot, and I, the humble storyteller.
Driving over rises and falls, the group contemplated the challenge ahead of them: a section of a trail that stretches far beyond our reach and perhaps our imagination; from Georgia to Maine. It was then that I truly realized that if I had the strength, I could follow that hallowed track of dirt all the way into the South, an entirely different place. But the realization was short lived as we arrived at our destination and began our mission.
Thick foliage pressed in on all sides, and the canopy blocked the light. There was no way but forward, and forward we travelled, crossing rivers and mud puddles. At times, we came across trees widely spaced, allowing light to pour through the forest, but these moments were short lived as we ran on through the woods, clearing rocks and leaving wet leaves strewn on the packed earth.
Finally, after traveling through the thick trees, we emerged to a small pond owned by the Millikens, our primary goal. We had done it; we had fought our way through these Vermont woods and made it here. Looking around, this was paradise; the cool water, the zip-line, an abundance of dogs. This was New England at its finest, a picture perfect view. Hikers come all the way from Georgia on that same trail to see this.
All and all, mission successful.