I was on the pilgrim path. The real one. My own personal, spontaneously devised pilgrimage through southern Shikoku had wound up the day before. But that’s another story. This one started in a ratty park in a worn-down fishing town, a secret tent-site in the bushes.
Why do I do this to myself? Someone very important to me was leaving the country, and this was my version of waving at the aeroplane: wandering out onto the mudflats at low tide to watch it taking off from the airport a few kilometres south.
Because there’s no lovelier place name than Appalachia, and because that long and winding, kneecap-grinding pathway is one of my favourite pieces of real estate on the planet, and because I’ve finally started the gruelling task of scanning my way through a boxful of dusty pictures, here are some extracts from my paper journals of seven years ago, and a few of those dusty pictures, from my first, frazzled evening on the incredible Appalachian Trail.
LATE-DECEMBER, 2010 Zermatt proudly celebrates its role in the Golden Age of alpinism:
My time in Switzerland was running out. One evening Sarah said, “It would really be a shame if you didn’t see Zermatt while you were here. The Matterhorn is amazing, there’s lots of hiking. Hmmm…wait a minute…”.