There is something about hiking on a snowy trail that suits me well. But not just a snowy trail. Toss in a bit of wind, around rocks and bushes and stumps and other such obstacles. And an Aspen grove – that's simply a necessity. A good hiking trail features a stout climb right off the bat, a winding forest landscape to get lost in an elvish world, some rock features to scramble over, and then a nice downhill run where you can either lose yourself in your own thoughts or, if you are with a friend, chat and laugh the day away.
Such are the trails at the local state park to the south. I don't venture down to this area enough, and that's a mistake, cause it's simply a gem. It's also a nice diversion for when the skin tracks get mundane and the snow crappy. Hiking is the essence. Even when I'm old and decrepid, I'll hike. I may not bike, I may not ski 13,000 foot peaks, but I'll be damned sure to hiking. Hiking is discovery, for you slow down and see new things. Discovery can take on many different forms – be it a place, or a person, or your own self.
Three separate hikes at this park on the exact same loop – Black Bear up, Horseshoe down – and three totally different experiences. Two weeks ago, with a close friend, where I discoved that walking in the woods is still the best and most simple way to forge human bonds. Alas, if all human communication were done in the woods, and not over computers, the world would be a better, happier place. That was a magical day, standing on summits and in the midst of aspen groves, talking about everything under the sun and laughing till the bellies hurt.
Yesterday, a different experience. My mind is heavy. It's a good heavy, one based on passion, but it's contemplative. I will be, for some time to come, going into a bit of the "self" state. Taking care of business, getting myself all set and good. But I was thinking about the past on this day, but also about magic. A magic past if you will. I listened to the headphones the whole time – Stars – and this only fueled the memories. Good. I wanted to be in this place.
I came back today. The park costs money – $6 to be exact – but upon reading the fine print I found that you can show up before noon the next day and it's still covered. So I did. More of a physical effort today. Pushing it a bit. Thinking about this summer. My job is such that I need to be fit, and there is no better way to do it than to hike up hills. It was me and my companion today, Stella the wonder dog. We blasted through the trail, gazed at the divide from the high points, and smiled.
One other hike to mention. Last night, under the full moon, basking. Pure bliss, some sadness, but way more bliss than sadness.
Walking is a good thing.