A Decade Ago

A decade ago today my feet ached and my back was sore.

A decade ago today I was three weeks into a two month hike.

The day began warm and sunny, but by the time I met you, the sky had grown dark and fierce and windy and the rain was pouring down.

I’d reached the shelter before the rain. I was dry. I was warm. I was looking forward to crossing into North Carolina the next day.

I was writing in my journal, snuggled tight in my sleeping bag, when I heard steps and looked up.

You were soaked to the bone. You were wearing that blue rain jacket and your hair was cropped short. Your pack looked gigantic stacked on your sinewy runner’s legs.


You had the biggest smile I’d seen in weeks and when you turned it on me, my heart skipped a beat.


I wasn’t looking for love. I was still healing from a deeply wounded heart and was looking for peace. But your sweet smile made me ache. Your sweet smile stayed with me and got caught in my thoughts.

It would be months before that smile became part of my life and years before you’d promise that it would be mine forever, but a decade ago today you first turned it my way and my life has never been the same.

I love you, Justin Todd Giovagnoli, to the tips of my toes and the very depths of my soul.

{bear with the scanned copies of 10 year old disposable camera photos…they are rough!}

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  • DianaMay 2, 2013 - 4:04 pm

    You guys give me such warm fuzzies! What an amazing story… Happy Gap Shelter Anniversary!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • JustinApril 30, 2013 - 8:24 am

    First I want to clarify that I’m the bald guy next to Mary and not the bald guy on the end (who actually gave me my “trail name”). It’s always amazing to me when one tiny decision to push on to the next AT shelter changes your life. I could have pulled up at Addis Gap or pushed further on to McClure Gap (Georgia is full of Gaps), but I’m thankful everyday that I nestled into Deep Gap Shelter that night 10 years ago. Cindy, you inspire me everyday to be a better person and I’m way too lucky to have the best partner in life as well.ReplyCancel

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