This project began as a compilation of journal notes written on a few of the expeditions I have made with the Turtle Hill Sangha over the last five years. Since 1994, I have been backpacking regularly and attempting to employ this medium as a form for us to work out and practice together. The specifics of that work are not recorded here in any detail; this is a skeletal outline of the journey, parts of which I thought might be useful, interesting or simply entertaining for a wider audience. Through The Wake I try to connect with and communicate a sampling of the natural forms around me, whether biological, geological, historical or currently social, while occasionally considering the mandala of minds I travel with, which defines the level 'we' are happening on. None of this was written with any dramatic intent but just like in real life, there are times when things need to play out and demand a measure of expression.
For the most part, I simply wanted to share the experience of being on trail, focussing the narrative on the time we have spent on the Sheltowee Trace, a 270 mile trek that leads from Pickett State Park in Tennessee, to a point about 15 miles south of the Ohio in northeastern Kentucky. Unlike most of the hiking we've done out west, the Sheltowee Trace offers a longer backpacking trip, with many interesting side options. The last and most recent section of The Wake includes days spent on the Kentucky Trail within Big South Fork.
While long sections run along footpaths in the woods for days at a time, there is still the business of rendezvous and resupply involving different crews for segments. Over the course of a few weeks you are exposed to a wide variety of experiences; following rivers, crossing many streams and roads, passing through rural neighborhoods as well as a few ghost communites, signs of old oil wells and coal mines, railroad tracks that are still used everyday and through nearly a dozen different parks and wildlife preserves of eastern Kentucky.. In taking the time to spend these days outdoors I am getting better acquainted with my family and friends, and gaining a deeper appreciation for the spirit of the country where I have lived for many years.
Although he wasn't actually with us at the time, Dondrub contributed a significant section to the present offering, The Southern Door, and there are short pieces by others.
When I had close to 100 pages of text, it occured to me that we have also taken some quality pictures of places referred to, so Tenkar and Dechen got out the boxes and started looking through photos to choose the best ones. There were so many good images of special places, that in most cases, it seemed a much better idea to make separate webpages for many of the shots and eat up some bandwidth sharing them rather than let them rot in the attic. As for my sources in gathering facts, they are too numerous to list. All errors are therefore my own. Lots of the information came right off the Internet, books off my shelf and the local Library.
Please feel free to write me with comments, corrections or complaints.
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