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Backpacking Appalachian Trail Altruistic Solution Life&Business

Updated: Sep 12, 2018

My blog this week is another personal testimony about how and why we began ALTru Solution. My apologies if you like to read techy, trendy, blogs about digital cabling infrastructure and how to build a better mouse trap in today’s digital age. An age when technology, timing, and speed give business a distinct competitive advantage. We provide answers to all of the above but have found our clients to be friends, family members, and close business associates who just enjoy each other’s company. No one really knows what we do so find blogging about tech trends is somewhat mundane and boring.

While contemplating my career and lifestyle, I took some time away from the W2 world in 2017. I had been taking a few days during the Memorial Day holiday for the prior three years to complete a section hike of the Appalachian trial, having started at Springer Mountain GA, the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. I found the first three days miserable and learned that no matter how well conditioned I was prior to starting, the hikes hurt, hurt, hurt. Heart and lungs, knees and ankles, and everything associated with trekking in the southern Appalachian Mountains was a real test for a 50 something guy like me. In 2017 I was determined to keep my trail legs and conditioning for an extended trek. I prayed endlessly and kept asking God, “Am I being selfish leaving my family, career, and friends?” In the end I noticed a prayer that summarized something like this; “One can pray for one’s self as long as other’s will be helped.” That was it! I would start hiking but vowed to be of service to everyone I encountered on the trail! I carried extra supplies because I had met the young through hikers many times on prior excursions. I shuttled my vehicle every 50 miles or so and gave rides, took hikers to doctors, took hikers to post offices, shared meals, shared possessions, and learned the names and trial names of everyone I encountered. This began my altruistic journey through the Appalachian Mountains and later founded my mission of altruistic service in life and business.

The following is my final journal entry after completing the last 75 miles and the Smokey Mountain National park. My current stop point is Davenport Gap TN, only 237 miles from the trail head in GA. This leaves only 1,963 miles to go!

I completed the Smokey's! My most aggressive hike of this trek! Everything working in sync and I really trekked both up and down the mountains. Scenery was the most spectacular and I paused many times to admire God's handy work. The descent down to the gap brought about higher temperatures and bugs. I was reminded of the reality of June's heat and how much I love the cooler temps and fresh air in the upper altitudes of the mountains. The dying Hemlocks were evident below 3500'. Many different theories and fears concerning this epidemic of nature. Hemlocks hold and control the moisture that make the Smokey Mountains smoky. All I can do is leave no trace and allow God to work his power and allow man kind to stop blaming each other for nature's ability to heal or not heal itself.

People keep asking, "Where are you hiking next?". I was struck by the fact that I fell in love with the Smokey Mountains during our honeymoon 1/9/1995. Jenny and I honeymooned here after we bought a house and had to cancel our cruise to the Caribbean. She had 3 free nights at the Honeymoon Hideaway. It was so tacky! Heart shaped hot tub, water bed with mirrors on the upper canopy. I fell more in love with my wife during those days and continue to fall in love my wife every day since. During our honeymoon, we enjoyed Indian Summer weather in the Gatlinburg area along with the park all to ourselves. We drove endlessly and day hiked several short treks, visiting waterfalls and key attractions. I visited the Smokey's as a kid, but don't remember much about it.

I think I decided in 1995 that if Jenny and I had children, I would make them stewards of the outdoors. I have always loved camping, fishing, and the outdoors. I was a Scout as a kid and have so many fond memories of the simple life of a child roaming the woods, rivers, and valleys God's great outdoors. You see, I bought a book soon after our honeymoon about the Smokey Mountains. I started reading and when God loaned us Alex and Andrew, we started bringing them here. We have many stories about hikes, stays, and our family days of roaming this area. Yes, I end up here almost every summer for one reason or another. It was during one of these visits that someone told me about the Appalachian trail running over the top of the Smokey Mountains. For $20, you can see a more spectacular view from the mountain shelters than money can buy in the tourist attractions and accommodations from the surrounding towns. This is when I started reading about the Appalachian Trail and the physical condition it takes to hike the park.

A strange series of events brought me to Scout Leadership where I mentored Alex, Andrew, and countless other scouts to follow the 12 points of the scout law as another good road map to life. The Carpenter's Book coupled with asking questions about Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent will never steer a man wrong. As a Scout I attended countless camps and in the later years learned to back pack at Philmont and canoe at Northern Tier. All because God loaned us Alex and Andrew.

As Scouting concluded and Alex and Andrew moved from childhood to manhood, I was still bitten with the outdoor bug. My four years of hiking has all been an effort to see the Smokey Mountains from the top. Witness first-hand what the man described in 1995. Where I am going next? Well, I'm guessing it will be somewhere on a trail, river, lake, that will continue to expose me to the love and beauty God has loaned his children. It's our job to protect it and leave no trace so mine and other generations can continue to enjoy as we gradually leave our third dimension of instincts. It's our third dimension of instincts that keeps us alive. The desire for food, shelter, water, and personal pleasures. It's only when we move in God's fourth dimension that we move closer to what he really wants for his children. Happy Trails!

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