I love that my time spent on the trail fills me with appreciation for the amenities that I enjoy at home.

At home, I love every hot shower, I relish clean cotton bed sheets, and I am grateful for all the cold goodies that are accessible in my freezer and fridge.

One of the reasons I decided to return to the trail after my first thru-hike in 2005 was because after a few months I began to take these simple pleasures for granted. I don’t want to feel like I deserve these items - I want to delight in them.

After seven summers of hiking, my appreciation now lasts throughout the year. And each summer when I go to the woods and leave these items behind, I am reminded how much I enjoy them throughout the year. However, last night as I was standing in the steam of a warm shower and smiling at the thought of my shampoo and conditioner, I realized that I tend to only appreciate the things that I have to give up.

I take for granted the blessings that I enjoy everyday on and off the trail, my health, my family, my friends - the ability to speak freely, to think aloud, to write, to worship.

I hope that I can always remain thankful for the appliances and inventions that I enjoy everyday, but I hope that my gratitude can grow and focus more fully on the gifts that fill my life beyond modern conveniences, on and off the trail.