Thursday, July 12, 2007


Every hiking trail holds the assumption that it is the best route between points A and B. The implication is that we should all keep to the prescribed path, because those who have gone before, have successfully reached the intended goal. But, "best" is a highly qualitative word. Trails are not "one size fits all." Some paths require a lot of stretching, reaching, and leaping for shorter people. Others force tall people to duck, bend, and limbo along. I've gotten wedged between rocks when my pack got stuck in a narrowing crack I was navigating through. That was probably not the best route at the time.

Everyone experiences the same path in a different way. If the trail fits the hiker, a swift and pleasurable trek is made. If the path does not, a laborious, if not difficult or dangerous, hike may ensue.

There are times when we should all keep to the same path, because we would be causing harm to the environment if we didn't. Other times, it doesn't make sense to follow the trail beaten out by many before. Sometimes that well worn path is deeply rutted, mucky or slippery.

Many people patiently walk behind those in front, watching and following the feet before them, carefully replicating each step. Whenever I do this, I usually end up getting bopped in the head by a low-hanging branch that I didn't see. It seems better to look ahead and find the most suitable route for one's build and abilities. That means, modifying your course along the existing path so that it works for you.

A difficult path does not always mean that it is the wrong path. Sometimes it just means that we haven't made it our own yet.