Kingston, NY – June 21, 2013
Bob threw open the door to his workshop and I stepped inside. His Harley stood there, gleaming in the shadows, reminding me of the day on the Mississippi near St. Cloud when it came roaring through the trees to meet me at the water. He was heading home to New York and I was heading to Key West.
“Maybe I’ll see you up there sometime,” I said.
I dumped two drybags on the floor and went out for another load. Dave and his son Bowman scooted past me, paddles and a life jacket in their hands. Dave served in the Green Berets with Bob and I could listen to their stories for hours. It’s a glimpse into another world, something I’ll never see, never understand like they do, but I get a piece of it with them. I get a bit of perspective.
Bob stepped outside to help Rod and Fran back their RV into the yard. I’d never met them before, but I’d been a week behind them on the Florida coast, heard about them in Suwannee and chased them all the way to Key West. But I was too late then. Rod had traded his kayak for a backpack and started walking north from the gulf to the Appalachian Trail and onward. Fran had traded her kayak for a RV to drive support. They’re on their way to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but I was able to make up enough ground on the straight line of the coast while Rod walked the twisting Appalachian Trail. They met me at the boat ramp in Kingston and Bob invited them back to his place for the night.
“Trail magic,” he said as we pulled away from the boat ramp.
I nodded, feeling it as we drove.
Our three-car caravan rose into the Catskills, odd pieces merging for a moment, breaking those pockets of the world we all live in, swirling in the wake of adventure, mixing by luck and chance.
“Magic,” I said.