Let's do some deeper pondering on what the trail means to us and how it affects and changes us. Just write something that you've thought of in the past or something that hits you now. Anything at all. Let's hear the philosopher in you.
Complete this sentence: THE TRAIL IS...
I always forget and make it more complicated than it needs to be...it's just walking.
I had to look back in my journal of a bp on the Berg Lake Trail, Mt. Robson Provincial Park in BC, Canada five years ago to fill in the blanks JP has provided:
Doing, hiking, completing . . . THE TRAIL IS . . . not about conquering the wilderness. That is never the goal. The goal is to be a part of it. To step up the hill with a pack on your back. To wander farther upstream to a place accessible only to those willing to make the sacrifice and to withstand the pain to get there.
The reward? To witness some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. To paint images in your memory of a flower, a creature, an insect, a rainstorm. And to be a part of it.
I wish it was me (as do others with a bent toward inhumanism), but it was Robinson Jeffers, the early environmental poet, who wrote:
“A severed hand is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars and his history... for contemplation or in fact... Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man Apart from that, or else you will share man's pitiful confusions, or drown in despair when his days darken.”
On every step of the trail, I feel as if I'm happily treading water, NOT drowning in despair.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree--the trail IS, and it's the place to be, no matter what is going wrong--bad weather, crashing dead trees, barfing dog, millions of hungry mosquitoes--no matter what, the trail is better than anyplace else this side of heaven!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
The trail is like a highway. Major trails feel like being on an interstate route - quick but somehow not quite wilderness nor satisfying. Secondary trails feel like state roads - local and more interesting, but still not wilderness but a bit more satisifying. The real wilderness feeling comes only when getting completely off the trail. You now follow the path of the deer, elk, bear. Your mind engages in every step. This is not only walking, but thinking, strategizing, and not without some anxiety. No guarentees. You dead-end, back up, rethink. I prefer my wilderness off-trail; I prefer my life off-trail. I do not want to walk a path constructed by a trail crew; I do not want to live a life path set out by society thinks I should do.