Since my old hiking buddy and good friend, Bud Wilson, passed away, I have not had even the hope of taking a weekend hike in the Western NC mountains. I miss those craggy peaks, those windswept hills where life is put in its proper place. There is no room for ego there, nor worry, or anxiety. There is only putting one foot in front of another, looking for the next water source, and finding a good place to make camp.
Then, settling down around the fire, eating a basic meal from a can, every muscle, nerve, and sinew relaxes. You rest to the sound of the crackling fire and gaze at the starry canvas. It gets cool at night in the mountains, and you slide on your jacket, watching the fire worry itself down.
Then to settle into your sleeping bag, where it's warm and quiet. You may hear the wind ripple your tent fly as it sweeps over the mountain. Quiet and warm and relaxed in nature's bower. Sleep comes easy, and your dreams fly away miles toward the sky.
I surely miss it and hope someday I can find another old geezer, slow poke hiker to wander the ragged hills of Caroline.