[at-l] Regrets

Felix J AThiker at smithville.net
Fri Dec 16 10:04:05 CST 2011

You know how sometimes a person will enter your life for a 
little while and then leave your life for some reason. And, 
even though they aren't in your life actively anymore, you 
still think about them, or your time with them, what you 
learned from and with them, what you experienced together, 
nearly everyday. The reasons they aren't actively in your 
life can be good, bad or indifferent. Usually it's just the 
way it is. The way it turns out.  People are busy and have 
their lives to live and the next thing you know fifteen 
years have gone by.

Back in August of 1998 a guy came into my life while I was 
hiking the AT.  I was initially intimidated by him a little. 
The intimidation was not because I thought he was going to 
cause me harm. It was because I had so much respect for him, 
what he had done and what he was doing, that I wasn't 
certain I was worthy of hiking with him.

The AT, in the wonderful way it works its magic, made it be 
that he and I would hike together for a time. In that time, 
the respect increased. The respect turned to love. And, the 
love to a spiritual connection unlike any other I've ever had.

We were together when I experienced the most amazing act of 
nature I've ever witnessed: 90 mile an hour winds on the 
summit of Mt. Madison. It was here that one of the only 
regrets of my life occurred.  Because my mind was littered 
with concern over a lost hiker, a hiker more or less in my 
care, I may have been thinking of a picture I wasn't 
currently in.

So, I left him. I left him in the 90 miles an hour wind. A 
wind that was blowing rain and sleet so hard it stung when 
it hit. A wind so strong it took  our breath away. A wind so 
loud we couldn't talk to each other. I left him even though 
the trail was like climbing over a pile of ice-covered cars. 
I left him even though he had only one eye and therefore no 
depth-perception. I left him, I think, because I thought he 
was 'unstoppable'.  I should have never left him.

He made it down the mountain to the safety of a 'hut'. The 
lost hiker made it up the mountain to the safety of a 'hut'. 
We were all together again in the safety of a 'hut'.  And, 
it wasn't until years later that I figured out that I should 
have never left him on that pile of rocks.

So, today I found out that my hiking brother, Patch, has 
another Mt. Madison to climb. And, I'm going to do my 
damnedest to not leave him there alone this time.

Felix J. McGillicuddy
ME-->GA '98
"Your Move"
ALT '03 KT '03

More information about the at-l mailing list