This morning I took a very long walk–more than two hours, anyway–through the woods and alongside the Chattahoochee River. I took a trail I hadn’t explored before and ended up coming out near a distant apartment complex. There was a map there so I was able to tell that if I walked some more, I would find the abandoned mill I’ve been interested in seeing…but by that point I was pretty tired and I knew I needed to get water soon. So I ended up turning around and heading back the way I came.
The walk back was strangely energizing. It was as if, knowing there was a finite distance left, my body decided to push out a lasting burst of energy. Soon I found myself jogging the forest trail, weaving through the trees, barreling down little creek-cut valleys and back out of them, leaping side to side to avoid obstacles like rocks, roots, and other hikers.
Finally, elated and covered with sweat, I emerged from the pines and took a quick left back to the nearest parking area, where I availed myself of the water fountain with measured abandon.
The walk back from there was a nice cool-down. I stuck to the river path to keep out of the sun, smiling at all the walkers, runners, bikers, and dog walkers who were out enjoying this hot, beautiful day with me. And then, finally, I was done, ready to relax in the air conditioning with a tall glass of water.