Maine isn't going anywhere

I just returned from 5 days of hiking with a buddy from Springer Mountain to Dick's Creek on the Appalachian Trail. Thanks to a storm named Alberto, it was a bit more challenging than either of us anticipated.

The first two days were mostly sunny, but the nights were cold and wet. By the third night, the rains started getting heavy and continuing all day. On the fourth night, with both our gear soaked through and torrential rains and winds battering us, I got so cold I couldn't stop shivering. At this point, with no way out, hearing a tree fall somewhere in the distance, and with the rain and wind continuing to hammer me, I distinctly remember calculating the probability of death at something unacceptably higher than zero.

Eventually, the wind stopped enough that I warmed up enough to fall asleep. A couple hours later, I woke up to a rain shower light enough that it was a good chance to stash the soaked sleeping gear in the soaked pack and hit the soaked trail.

Within a mile, both our spirits were up and we decided to finish our original route. I am always amazed how quickly humans forget. In a few hours I went from death to hubris.

A few miles after this decision, the rain began to get heavy again. The rain poured down the trail like a small creek at our feet, and the rain cover for my pack (which was completely pointless) began to literally fill with water. At this point, we began an uphill climb that seemed to go on forever. I finally sat down somewhere on this climb and said, "I'm done."

In the moment, I was utterly defeated. In hindsight, it was the smart call. One of the roads we rode out on partially collapsed later that day, and the place we had originally targeted to finish our hike got hammered by rain to the point that roads flooded, and getting us out would have been dicey.

After a couple minutes resting on that mountain, we called down a list of people until we found a ride home. We got up and hiked to the nearest road and then to a hostel, where we were met with coffee and towels. It was here that I heard the sage advice of a guy who calls himself Slow Motion: "Hey man, Maine isn't going anywhere!"

We often talk about 'gutting it out' and feel despondent when we fail, but sometimes it's just a setback on a long road. Whether it's an injury, a life event or the relapse of a bad habit that knocks you off the trail, recover, dust yourself off, and get back out there when you're ready. Maine isn't going anywhere.


Although this article is primarily about hiking it is applicable to yoga. It is your journey. Whatever the name of your storm just take a breath and never give up.

Stormy Forrest

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