A Rigorous Walk In the Woods

7 June 2014 in Hiking, Memories

Lately I’ve been feeling a little static. We’ve certainly been hiking, but at a slower and less frequent rate. So I wanted to just burn through a trail today just to see how fast I could hike it. I had switched my days with a coworker this week and so Lindsay and I didn’t have identical days off together. This left me free to do a solo hike at whatever pace I wished.

I woke up late with Lindsay and dilly dallied around the trailer for a couple of hours before leaving. It was a long drive across the park to the east side where my trailhead awaited me and to be quite honest I was strangely less than enthused when I started. A large group of boy scouts served as a blockade and forced me to kick my stride into high gear and pass them going up hill. I wanted a day of solitude and so I kept up the pace as long as my wincing lungs would allow.

It’s easy to burn yourself out when you’re hiking at an incline and before long my lungs burned and my head started to ache. It was not the meditative walk I had hoped it would be. I quickly lost moral and questioned if I had another ten miles left in my tank. But then the trail leveled out and I found my second wind. I actually took to running short stretches for the pure joy and silliness of it. When I reached the first juncture in the trail and the sign that confirmed I had completed 1/4 of my planned route my spirits lifted.

And now the wonderful, irregular cadence of my feet pounding the trail lulled my mind into the pristine trance of a single strain of uninterrupted, uncluttered thought. A portion of my brain set about navigating the challenging terrain and the other half took the remaining capacity and set it to the wandering pondering of pseudo intellectual, pseudo philosophical thought. I’m not an expert in anything. In fact I consider myself a failure at most that is factual. I have a terrible memory and while I have spent years pursuing random whims of self-education were you test me on my retention I would probably come off looking like an imbecile.

I tend to function best at critical thinking and pragmatism. For example I love discussing philosophical questions, but I couldn’t provide you with any historical figures, quotes or teachings. I could only offer my own personal thoughts on any given matter. These I will ponder and pine over for weeks, months and in some cases years, but I will rarely crack a book to look into what others have come up with. It’s a shortcoming I’ve simply never been able to overcome.

But back to the trail. My mind swam through the stormy sea of thoughts as I stomped through the dust. Through the forest, through the meadow, through another forest, and another meadow. I took in the views when they were offered, but only for a few short minutes. Today for some reason my prerogative was agility. I wanted to wear myself thin. I wanted to set myself on fire and burn the last remaining embers of everything that was within me.

I passed a basin of lakes, but they couldn’t stop me. I passed a cliff side of beautiful views, but today I would not be stopped. I just kept hiking. Before I knew it the trail had run its course and I was done. It was not the done I had wished for. There was still fuel in the tank, but not enough of a spark of will upstairs to push myself further on another trail. I really need to get back into running. Hiking miles take a lot of time and their slow burn only whittles away sluggishly at your core. Running miles are like napalm and require much less time to eat through you and spit you out. Sometimes I just want to feel worn through. Even empty. Like I have given all that is within me. It gives me a rare moment of solace and freedom from the nagging intentions I have requested from myself and yet continually neglect. When you’re physically drained down to nothing that is the purest excuse for procrastination.

7 June 2014 Hiking, Memories

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