My hikes can be more vicarious than real. It’s a nice two-for-one benefit of hanging with adventurous folks who like to get around.
Sunday, for instance, I caught up with Howard for the first time since he’d returned from hiking a section of the Camino de Santiago in June. I was especially interested because Howard’s plan was to average 15 miles a day for 7 days; Howard is in good shape and a strong hiker, but that’s the kind of mileage AT thru-hikers aspire to — after building up for a month on the trail.read more
My latest goal: Have a Pop-Tart instant coffee breakfast in the woods before work.
As goals go, it my not be the loftiest.
Or is it?
For a good 5 years this simple ambition has been on my to-do list. Yet it remains undone. Why?
Because until now I’ve simply viewed it as “a thing to do.” A thing I really want to do, but, in the pecking order of life, simply a thing to do; it never occurred to me to elevate it to “goal” status. Goals, after all, are things you work at: a million in sales through Q2, discovering a cure for the doldrums. Showing up for work on time. Goals usually take the form of resolutions you set on New Year’s Day, like fitting into your high school Speedo by Memorial Day. Having a processed pastry and Sanka while sitting on a tree stump isn’t exactly an achievement you’d include in the Christmas newsletter.read more
As part of Year of the Trail, the Great Trails State Coalition, the non-profit driving the observation, has designated themes for each month. Some themes aren’t necessarily tied to the month: August, for instance, has been “health and wellness” (as opposed to “sweating”). September is another matter. Its theme?read more
Last week at the bookstore I picked up a copy of “The Language of Trees” and began thumbing through it. I randomly sampled a handful of the 50 or so essays and decided it was coming home.
The essay that tipped my decision was the Introduction, in which writer Ross Gay recounted some of his favorite trees, from “the chokecherry tree in Verndale, Minnesota, where my grandpa parked his hospital-green ’68 Chevy pickup,” to “the beech tree in Vermont I met on a night hike two summers back.” That night hike tree reminded me of the imposing white oak that once appeared out of nowhere on a favorite night hike of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. And that got me to thinking about some of my other favorite trees.read more