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A Piece of My Mind
July 14, 2010

The Hike

JAMA. 2010;304(2):134-135. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.882

It had been raining all day. Wet leaves littered the hiking trail stretched before us, while thick clouds spilled over the mountain ridges and filled the valleys on either side. The gray sky was darkening quickly as evening fell on the second of our three-day hike along the Appalachian Trail in southwest Virginia. Dad and I had begun our 25-mile trek the day before with the confidence of the seasoned hikers we imagined ourselves to be. We looked forward to this annual father/daughter event every year—a chance for me to slip away from the daily grind of managing blood pressure and chronic pain and for my father to leave the latest tax law and guardianship issues far behind. An attorney and an internist may have seemed an unlikely pair to take on the challenge of “the AT” (as hiking veterans call it), but we were confident we could handle anything the trail might put in our path.