Serendipity and Renewal in the Outdoors

by Yvonne N. Levesque in , ,


Fontana Dam, North Carolina

In a serendipitous turn of events, I found myself on the Appalachian trail (AT) with my husband (Trail name: Lafayette) in the Fontana Village area of North Carolina.  We had always wanted to hike the AT, a 2100 mile backpacking adventure from Georgia to Maine. We were invited here to join a friend in memory and honor of his beautiful friend and wonderful wife, a brave, adventurous, fearless woman.  In reflecting about Diana's life, in the days following her sudden death, I was undenably aware of some of the dreams I've had for my life that I hadn't achieved.  

When we were invited to be a part of the spreading of her ashes in the place where Diana was engaged to be married, where she spent some of the most enjoyable days of her most recent years, I noticed that this location intersected the AT.   The opportunity to start our AT section hikes started here at Fontana Dam.


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
— Henry David Thoreau

I'm thankful to Diana for living life the way she did and for and inspiration to start this goal of a lifetime.

Our first AT section is now complete.  This hike took us up 2100 feet over the course of 4.5 miles, and a lot of that elevation was gained in the first 2.4 miles. We're now planning the next section.

We arrived, back home, renewed and inspired to take on our big dreams.

What is your big dream and how are you taking steps to make it happen?

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Earth Day in Washington, DC

by Yvonne N. Levesque in ,


When I planned a visit to my sister's in Falls Church, Va, I didn't expect such an event-filled weekend. I five days we clocked 37 miles of walking (see my next post about our visit to the Appalacian Trail) and visited everything for a Vietnamese shopping mall to swanky POV atop of the W Hotel.   I originally planned the visit when I heard that my favorite band, The Mowglis were in DC promoting their new album Kids In Love.  We had also heard Twitter rumors of an Earth Day celebration being put on by Global Citizen.

We walked right into a small crowd on the warm and sunny National Mall so we sought shelter in the shade of the Washington Monument. The Earth Day event, hosted by Will i. Am and Soledad O'Brien initially appeared to be a bust with O'Brien shhh'ing the mostly disinterested 20-something crowd between a performance of My Morning Jacket and an appearance of the French Politician Philippe Douste-Blazy.  

After lunch break and a visit to the National Portrait Gallery (subsequently missing performances by Fall Out Boy and Mary J. Blige) we returned to a much more enthusiastic crowd and moving segments about global poverty, substandard education, and open defection by speakers like musician Chris Martin, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, Don Cheadle.

Ban Ki-Moon and various speakers in shadow of a Capital building under construction

Ban Ki-Moon and various speakers in shadow of a Capital building under construction

Usher performed with a big smile on his face despite a broken foot and he apologized to those the crowd who might find a golden crutch to be offensive.

 

Usher

Usher

The highlight of Global Citizen Earth Day was a appearance by No Doubt. 

The Earth Day crowd and Tony Kanal and Adrian Young of No Doubt

The Earth Day crowd and Tony Kanal and Adrian Young of No Doubt

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani

No Doubt and the White House visible from the event

No Doubt and the White House visible from the event

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani

We ended the day with a nothing-but-miraculous time-warping trip across town to U Street just in time to catch the travel-inspiring Mowglis perform sing-along crowd favorites and new cuts with their uniquely defiant love message and contagious joy of the open road.  You heard it here first - The Mowglis are this generation's B-52s.  Don't miss them this Saturday night at The Social in downtown Orlando.