Off the Beaten Path

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are dirt” – John Muir

 

Walking. The original form of human locomotion. There is something both humbling and gratifying in taking a journey on foot. Traveling with only what I can carry forces me to focus on the essentials while allowing me to slow down and appreciate the true scale of the places I visit. When I go on I hike, I am usually headed to the top of some peak, and the ascent up a mountain is both literally and figuratively a means to get above it all. A way to gain distance and perspective on my life while unplugging from it.

I became serious about hiking when my brother and I first learned about the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York. The Adirondacks is a 6 million acre preserve set-aside by the NY state constitution to be “Forever Wild”. My family has spent most of our lives camping, fishing, and boating in the Adirondack Park, and consider this rugged paradise our spiritual home, So you’d think we’d know it pretty well.

Yet it was only 8 years ago we first heard about the 46’ers; all the mountains over 4,000 ft within the park. People who manage to hike to the top of all the High Peaks get to join the 46’er club. This sounded like a fine goal, so we set out to become part of the club. Little did I know how much hiking would instead become part of me. I thought it fitting therefore that a blog about dirt, covered some of the dirt I’ve traversed.

What follows in the weeks to come are my journal entries from these Adirondack and other hiking adventures, along with hiking tips and lessons learned (both for hiking and life), that I’ve gathered along the way.  I hope you enjoy the stories, find the tips valuable, and most of all I hope this journal inspires you to unplug, pair-down, and go out there and find some dirt paths of your own.

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