I’ve met a lot of people in my life, some for the better, some I’d rather not have the second encounter with; but If I’ve learned anything more valuable from my social life , it takes a deep conversation and couple valuable times with one another for a real certainty to judge. I’ve have a lot of “hero’s” in my life, of course my most prompt is my parents for their unconditional love; but down the years some of my closest influences have shaped my life beyond what I can simply spill onto this page. Many are runners, many are not, and beyond all circumstances they have shaped my life in a certain manner. Whether the influence was of mentality, strength, wisdom, simplicity, courage, or route to a true gentleman, I’ve picked and nabbed at each “side of the story/ the grass on the other side” and truly believe I’ve given a lot of the aspects a whirl.
On Tuesday I spent a day with Adam Hill, marking a trail section within the Pisgah National forest above 6k ft. First of all, this trail WAS AMAZING, but this page has nothing to do with that. Rather I want to talk about a man who seems to have found him a young Irish pup drooling onto his torn shoes, eyes glazed with excitement to learn the land from his new master.
Along with my lack of time in the sport of Ultra running, I’ve also been blind, due to media and lack of research, to some of the true hero’s within Ultra running. Now of course I’m biased, but Its my hero’s so I make the rules here. Anyways, Adam Hill is an incredible creature. He is a light man, frame holding nothing but whats necessary, with the eyes of a twelve year old child. He speaks the lingo of “Boy Meets World” days, and takes life to all simplicity. Adam has three children with his beautiful wife, Assa, Annie, and my favorite, Ava. His simplicity can be seen with his no socks, ripped running flats, torn split shorts held by race pins, baseball socks for arm warmers, run everday to work style. Adam Hill doesn’t drink water except from the stream, yet he pees three times to the hour with coffee from the morning and beer from the night before. Adam Hill doesn’t sweat, as he never takes a shower for weeks at time, yet never smells at all? And, as I said before, his wife is beautiful... so he’s doing something right? Adam Hill doesn’t have txting, a blog, a facebook, nor has he signed up for a competition race in ###’ S of years. When I first met Adam, I was truly expecting “in terms of Horton” the Canuck; But here was a skinny bearded man tattered and torn with scratches and gashes from the bush whacking he had practiced in his own backyard. He asked me to do a quick warm up while we waited for the others.... Adam talked, I was unable to catch enough breathe to even make sense of his words.
Adam has eyes of a twelve year old, and not much more older outlook on life. The earth is his play ground, his study, his meaning in life. Instead of hosting races for his own pocket, he constructs a Wiki site in which he organizes “free lance” Ultra’s, with aid, times, and best of all... laughter. Adam Hill knows everybody and anything within the culture of ultra running, hiking, outdoors. He has the persona/reputation that any and every company in the system has tried to get representation from; but Adam sees life differently. Adam Hill is a master of the WNC trails, and never ignores a flowering bud to the left or right of him. Adam Hill loves the local flora, the Mountains, the rivers, the wildlife, and makes it his study. And what Adam doesn’t know, your sure to be introduced to someone he has befriended. My palms were in sweat mode as I stood at the door step of Jennifer Pharr Davis, record holder for the supported thru hike of the AT 46 days, simply to pick up a pack used to carry Ava. This pack is in full rotation within the outdoor, newborn, parents, as, Jennifer’s young child Charlie smiled at the long beard off Adam’s face. I’ve seen Jennifer many times before, but I never got to shake the thin but muscular hand of this Appalachian giant.
Later he told me of a long time “Birder” of the area, living directly in Black Mountain, and a veteran to Western States 100. I cant even imagine the hours I’ll spend with this friend of Adam’s, stomping up the Mountain with our binoculars at ready for the sight of flight, and the repeating calls that takes the hands on learning with constant repetition at an ears shot to master.
Adam Hill is an artist, at life, and its my chalkboard that Im asking him to draw on.
We are going to have a lot of fun together in the future, and whether he likes it or not, I want to show the rest of the world his life.
“What knocks a man down, can only make him stronger.”