Hiking: You Get More Than You Ever Expect

I love to get out on a good old dirt trail. These days I am more often than not running rather than hiking. Running allows me to explore and see more. But there is nothing better than a slow ramble down a trail taking photographs.

Trails are magical portals that take you to another world. They may lead a few feet or hundreds of miles. You may arrive at a peaceful pond. Or you might end up looking down a steep cliff.

Trail through the foliage at Etna Nature Preserve.

Sometimes you walk down a familiar trail knowing exactly what to expect. “I’ll just walk down this trail to the river.” Or you may choose a trail because of the sense of adventure it brings. “I wonder what the view will be at the top of this mountain.”

What I love about trails is that they always poses the ability to bring something new into your life. Animals move through our world on a schedule vastly different than our own. You may travel the same path many, many times year after year and never see and animal. Until that one day you do. And you might be gifted the opportunity to see an animal that you have never seen before. And this occurrence happened due to a force beyond your control. Keep walking the well-worn path to see what new excitement it may behold.

Hiking path at Thayer Preserve in New York.

Not only can a familiar trail still reveal new things to us, but the trail itself is forever new and changing. A trail changes due to forces of nature like erosion. What was once a casual dirt path may over time become rutted and rocky due to the impacts of weather. Our very own feet trod on the soil which impacts the shape of a trail. Flattening, expanding, deviating the path from its original form. Vegetation grows and obscures views or sections of trail. Trees fall creating barriers we must surmount or go around.

If there is a trail you have not been to in a while, go back for a visit and see if it the same as you remember it being.

A trail can be so many different things and they are all good in their way. A relaxing stroll between the trees. There may be a meandering dirt path through the woods. Maybe you take the challenging climb up a rock covered trail on the side of a mountain. Or maybe there is the challenge of a smooth slab of stone you need to travers up a mountain.

The trail ascending Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks includes a few stones.

I love that every time I set foot on a trail I may have the opportunity to experience something new. It may not be a some exotic life changing, once in a lifetime experience every time. But every day is new and unique and every trail experience is new and different in its own little way. These are the experiences that build our lives. The experiences that shape us and make us who we are.

You don’t have to have a purpose, a reason, or a why. Just choose a trail and start walking.

Follow this path up to the top of Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks.

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