HikingThe Significance of Sunrise

The Significance of Sunrise

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The most traumatic day of my thru-hike in 2005 was when I summited Sunrise Mountain, New Jersey to find a body hanging from the rafters in the mountain top pavilion. I was the first witness to an early morning suicide, and it took everything I had to continue hiking after that point and end my journey in Maine.
This morning I went back through Sunrise Mountain Pavilion; it wasn’t scary, it wasn’t sad, instead, it was redemptive.
Now there are two things that I have wanted to do since I left Katahdin, one is to hold a Memorial for Meredith when I reach Blood Mountain, Georgia and the other was to have silence and prayer for the victim and family of the young man who ended his life tragically on the trail in New Jersey. Today I was able to accomplish one of those goals.
It was a beautiful morning, the sun was bright and there was a cool breeze. I hiked the first part of the morning by myself and then was surprise when a runner came up the trail towards me shouting my name. My good friend, David Horton, from Virginia had come up to the trail to surprise me. Together we started to hike and run together down the trail until I was surprised again by a large black bear standing in the middle of the trail. Horton and I were able to watch it for several minutes before it finally wandered off the trail. When we made it to the base of Sunrise Mountain we were met by my husband and together we traveled together towards the top of the mountain.
When I could see the pavilion, I reached out for Brew’s hand and looking at each other we continued to walk step-by-step until we reached the middle of the open-air structure on top. Sitting down on a bench looking out over the valley Brew, Horton and and I took a minute to remember the victim and pray for his friends and family. We spoke words of encouragement to the mountain and the nature surrounding us and together we made a positive memory and shared an affirmative experience at a place that had once been so heartrending
I am out on this trail for many reasons, but I truly hope that by being out here and smiling and encouraging others on the trail and by turning places of sadness into joy others will feel safe and comfortable on the trail and begin to love it as much as I do.

Places to Go, Things to See: