Angle to Key West: Trail Porn (10/22)

Tipton, Iowa – October 22, 2012

Over the past days, Gesh and I have watched a stack of videos about long-distance hiking. Movies about thru-hikes, about the trails, about the characters along the way. It didn’t matter that we’d only met a handful of the people in them, we knew everyone, recognized their struggles, their laughter, their awe.¬†The fascination with blistered feet, the way they gorged on plates of food, the dirt covered smiles and iron legs, they were our own memories.

It’s hard to look back sometimes. You feel like a High School Prom Queen watching years slip by.

The trails sink deep, grind marks that never disappear, vivid, sharp memories that flood through the quiet moments of a day. You don’t get over it.

I remember a year after the Pacific Crest Trail when I bolted out of my office and raced to the High Sierras for sixty miles over the 4th of July weekend. Near Mather Pass, a thru-hiker stopped to talk for just a moment before he pressed northward. I watched him disappear into the distance.

I had every bit of a future ahead of me – a fantastic job, a great apartment, a network of connections – but I thought of the pack on my back and how I wanted to just go, just start walking north, just disappear into the mountains.

I don’t know any hiker who doesn’t wish for one more mile.

So Gesh and I laughed and smiled and told old stories as the videos rolled on, glad for the other’s company, for knowing that we weren’t alone, for being close to that bit of trail we all carry in us.

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2 responses to “Angle to Key West: Trail Porn (10/22)

  1. “Man’s heart, away from Nature, becomes hard” – Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux

    That bit of trail you carry inside you calls you back,out of the separation, to Nature, where you rightly belong and for which you rightly long.

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