I talked my brother into hiking a couple of days of the Appalachian Trail with me to support a friend and raise money for wounded veterans. I researched and bought the best hiking shoes, tested out numerous packs, bought 6 different kinds of protein bars, a new sleeping bag, hiking socks, outfit and a new CamelBak. I double checked the route via Google Maps and Google Earth, read over 10 hiking blogs and even called a guy who owned a hostel near our destination to confirm my directions. We left exactly on time, didn’t hit a lick of traffic and were exactly where we were supposed to meet my friends at exactly the right time.
Problem was, they were behind on their schedule. These guys had been on the trail for 3 weeks and had been keeping up a killer pace. Rain slowed them down the night before and they were hours late. Phones were dead or had no reception. We left. They arrived 30 minutes later, though we wouldn’t find this out until later when phones were charged and we were almost back to Nashville.
Sounds like an epic fail. Sounds like we drove 11 hours for nothing. Sounds like we wasted our time and money on equipment we didn’t use. Sounds like all of our planning was for nothing. Perhaps. But I am a firm believer, with every ounce of my core, that absolutely everything happens for a reason.
I got 2 whole days with my little brother, without technology to get in our way. I got him to listen to country music and he got me to listen to his talk radio. He proved to be a hell of a navigator and quite a serious camper. We talked about our family, our kids, our jobs and our futures. We were quiet for spurts and laughed more than we have in years.
We raised $1000 for the Warrior Hike, and every penny will go towards the purchase of adaptive vehicles for veterans who have suffered multiple amputations during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, no. Not a second of my time was wasted this weekend. The trip didn’t go as planned, but who am I to think I am really in charge of plans in the first place?