I always kinda wanted to hike a long-distance trail, like the Appalachian Trail. When I was a kid — we’re talking age 12 and up, back in the 1970s — the notion had become popular in outdoorsy media though some of the big trails were still being constructed. It seemed like a big deal, but in a way it was simple and marvelous. All that time out in wild nature, with everything you need on your back! I ruled out the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail in the Rockies, because mountains seemed hard (and still do!), and wanted to hike the North Country Trail, but that was the one still under construction for the longest time. Well, apparently I ruled them all out, since I never really started any, though I have been on the Appalachian Trail (for about 20 minutes) and the North Country Trail (part of it goes through Pictured Rocks — here’s photographic proof).
Today at work I came across the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m not supposed to read books here (just typeset ’em) but I got pulled in by the prologue where, on day 39, taking a break from her boots (as one must while hiking for days and days), she’s horrified to watch one of them fall off the trail, down the ridge, into the trees, lost forever. Oops. (Spoiler alert: She doesn’t stop.) There’s so much more to the book, really. I may have to read it for real.
It reminded me of my own teenaged aspirations that pretty much stayed that way. Stuck at work with all these middle-aged things and responsibilities, it seems almost impossible that I could undertake any long-distance trail hiking now. The basic idea is simple: You start walking with a backpack, and you keep walking. That’s not really the hard part. Well, not till you’re doing it, at any rate. The hard part is getting to where you start it. But wouldn’t it be something if your only “job” was to walk and get to somewhere by the end of the day, the end of the week, the end of the summer?
Anyway, if you take anything away from this post, go check out that book. (You thought I was going to say “Carpe diem!” didn’t you?)
Postscript: I could write a bunch of posts that have this same idea: I used to do something, or used to want to do something, and then I never did it. Wouldn’t that be highly entertaining, eh?