Editor's note: In 2012, chemistry professor Mike Briggs, Ph.D., retired from IUP. On Jan. 6, Briggs, 66, a wounded Vietnam War platoon commander and former tire-manufacturing plant manager in Morocco, set out from Flagg Mountain, Ala., on a northbound hike along the Appalachian Trail. His goal is to complete a 2,185-mile trek to the trail's northern end in Baxter State Park, Maine, by Oct. 10 -- a rate of 15 miles a day, by his reckoning.
During the hike, Briggs plans to file occasional reports and ruminations to The HawkEye, composing on a Google tablet and filing from Wi-Fi hotspots at accommodations along the trail.
This is his first installment.
By Mike Briggs
DALTON, Ga. -- Why is it so hard to get something to work the first time you encounter it? A change of place and perspective -- hiking all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail -- prompts some thoughts during hours alone in the woods.
Like most things in life, you can look at adversity from several perspectives. Readers can list the downsides. My purpose here is to list the benefits.
Adversity is hard in that it requires exercise of muscle, mind or tool in ways that are new or different. For example, walking 15 miles should be easy. We know how to walk, and most of us walk some distance every day.