(6/7/19) I slept pretty well last night. We stayed in a hotel. After a few days out on the trail, sleeping on the ground in your tent, you really learn to appreciate the simple things in life like… a bed to sleep in.

Though I slept well I wasn’t eager to get up for some reason. As I laid there, I thought about the Appalachian Trail, and why it was so wonderful. Everyone, for the most part, is so kind to one another. Thru-hikers, Day Hikers, Ridge Runners, Trail Angels…everyone. I wondered why. Does this have to do with trail magic perhaps? Trail Angels give food, drinks, supplies, medical aide, rides, housing to Thru-Hikers. They do so without expecting anything in return. Giving without expecting anything in return is also referred to as unconditional love. Maybe that’s it:

The Appalachian Trail is an Ecosystem of Unconditional Love.

When Trail Angels provide trail magic to Thru-Hikers without expecting anything in return, they are loving these complete strangers unconditionally. When we experience unconditional love on a daily basis from complete strangers, we in return share this love with other complete strangers. So you end up with an ecosystem, or environment, that stretches some 2200 miles along the eastern coast of the US, where everyone is loving and kind to one another. Who wouldn’t want to experience this? Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by this? Could it really be that simple? Love and kindness starts with a free Twinkie and a Coke from a stranger? 🙂

I wondered what would happen if someone, a Trail Angel, were to setup a table in the “real” world or “synthetic” world as Dixie calls it, say New York City, and gave away free coffee, water, drinks, snacks, sandwiches, etc. How would people walking by respond to this? “Free? Really? What’s the catch? Nothing in life is free,” they’d probably say. But what if they took a free cup of coffee, and a muffin, and went to work. Would they share their experience with other co-workers? Would they want to give something to someone in return? A free meal, a helping hand, stop by a hospital to visit with a complete stranger who is dying and has no friends or family to comfort them in their final days.

Could this simple act of kindness and love be as contagious in the “real” world as it is on the Appalachian Trail? Perhaps someone will read this and do a social experiment to see how it affects people, not only immediately, but the days that follow as well. I’d love to see the results.

Mulligan got up and we ventured down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. As usual, we had two of everything: cereal, waffles, honey buns, juice, and coffee. Blue joined us. A fellow Thru-hiker. We saw Blue Jay and Ember once again. We took a zero-day. Mulligan had video work to catch up on, and I had my business work to catch up on as well. So we rested physically but stayed pretty busy all day until the sun went down and we retired to our beds for another good night’s rest.

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