For my 2019 writing challenge and in preparation for the Pacific Crest Trail in 2020, I am spending the entire year reading and writing about books focused on a journey. For my second book, I dove into “Tracks” by Robyn Davidson.
The Pull of Something Bigger
A hike of 2,650 miles doesn’t require a purpose. One could simply love the thought of hiking, competing against yourself to accomplish something unthinkable, and working with nature to reach an ultimate goal. This is all that is truly required. For me, the pull of something bigger than myself is required. This isn’t simply just a hike. It is a test. Since the day I solidified my decision to undertake this journey, it has been about financially planning, research, finding the right gear, getting into shape, and preparing my life for a 6-month break. It is also a test of something deeper; manhood, spirituality, simplicity, and the very essence of nature itself.
Wanting to Quit
A hike across the Australian Outback or up the Pacific Crest Trail share something in common; every hiker will be confronted with the possibility of quitting. Money may run dry. Injuries can surface. Time may get the best of you or the trail may grind you down to a shell of your former self. All of these are very real possibilities. Overcoming them takes a will very rarely tested by the modern world. Knowing we all share this in common, I am hoping to hike with people who motivate me to push forward. Likewise, I hope I can do the same for them.
Attempting to Describe Nature
I have attempted to do it on more than one occasion. People much more talented than I have waxed on poetically about it. Yet, we’ve all failed to some degree to properly describe nature. Sure, we’ve strung together beautiful words painting a vivid world, but we haven’t captured the granger properly. In all of our efforts, we woven together a tapestry that fails to compare to the real thing. Nature is meant to be experienced first-hand. It demands cliffs overlooking valleys, deep sea dives, quiet lakes, rushing streams, snow-capped mountains, and the bounty of life to be experienced. Then and only then do you find the right words for yourself.
What does it feel like to finish crossing the Australian Outback? The Appalachian Trail? The Continental Divide Trail? The Pacific Crest Trail? What does beginning in Mexico and ending in Canada feel like? At this point, I can only imagine. I can only fathom such a feeling knowing that my dreams are nowhere near reality. Then I think about the feeling of walking away from the trail, getting into a car, and going back to reality. What are those moments like? I don’t know, and I won’t know for some time, but I cannot wait.
Be good to each other,
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