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Yesterday I decided to take our dog Jimmy on a hike.

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I took Monday as my day off for the week due to all the worship services later in the week.  Pastors need a day off – even in the midst of Holy Week.

I decided that I would hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail near our house.  I loaded up a lunch and some snacks and water, got Jimmy ready, and off we went.  Jimmy loves all car rides, so for him, it didn’t matter where we went, just that we were going somewhere.

We arrived at the parking area and we started heading off going north on the trail, unsure of what to expect.  I just knew that I wanted to spend the day out in nature.  I came with no expectations, and not really anything on my mind either.  It was just an opportunity to be with God in nature.  Often guys don’t need to talk about anything or think about anything – but just be.  And today was one of those occasions.

We started off.  And found many interesting things along the way.  Things like stairways that help hikers get across fences.

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So much for the fence.

One of the more interesting finds was the cemetery we came across, right next to the trail.

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But the best part of the hike were the spaces where there were nothing – just the trail.

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We came across man-made things too, but these also seemed vacant.

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One of the things I learned from this hike is the footprint of humanity on literally everything.  There were few places in which I could see were not touched by humanity.  And even worse, there were still fewer spaces where humanity hadn’t created noise pollution on nature.

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But we went on.  Hiking away the day.  Seeing the beauty that was around us.

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And taking full advantage of the human-made things that helped make our hike easier.

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The weather was beautiful – shifting between slightly cold to comfortable.  This meant that I was putting a hat on and then off multiple times.

It also meant that the mud was an issue – due to melting ice.  Which is why I was grateful for the wooden path near where we turned around.

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In total, we walked about 14 miles – over 32,000 steps – from Trindle Road up to the Scott working farm.

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Jimmy did amazing and was a wonderful hiking companion.  By the end, we were both a big mess due to the mud that was kicked up on my clothing and his fur.

He was exhausted and so was I – but it was worth it.

One last picture.  It was posted at the end of a driveway.

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I saw it and had to laugh.  I guess turn-arounds are a big problem for these folks.  But I took the sign differently.  Once you travel that far – there is no turning around.  You just have to finish the path.