Back in 1973 when I skipped graduation at the University of Georgia to head to Mount Katahdin for a SOBO thru-hike of the A.T., I had great confidence. I had just received a college diploma, so clearly, I was very, very smart. I was so smart that I did very little research and planning and found myself in Maine in early June after a winter of massive snowfall and a spring of torrential rains. The trail was a quagmire, and the air was filled with black flies and swarms of mosquitos so large that I occasionally saw them fly by holding small mammals in their clutches. The photo below depicts my very, very smart self walking across logs on the edge of a north woods lake that was overflowing its banks. The trail was under 18 inches of water. That’s how smart I was. I will give myself credit, however. I kept going and things got better. By October 20, I was proudly striding up Springer Mountain. It can be done, I tell you. So, stay vertical and keep walkin’. (Photo by Bob Bruggman, all rights reserved).