Adventure? Or a Boring Walk in the Park?

A friend commented the other day that the trails that call to her are the Grand Canyon and Bryce, and it struck me that although I’ve always lived within a two-day road trip from both, I’ve never been to either. So much to see!

I need more adventures.

If I can’t get fit enough to do a long backpacking trip, I can always drive to those legendary places, camp in a campground, and then do day hikes. (In the back of my mind, a little voice is telling me that the Grand Canyon is part of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Does it sound like I’m obsessed with trails?)

In my favor, I am up to carrying twenty-six pounds for five miles, which means at the very least, I can do dispersed camping trips to get me into the back country.

That’s not bad. Maybe not a thru-hike, but it’s more than simply sitting and staring at a computer. And I have to admit, I do spend a lot of time on the computer, not just because of this blog, but also researching the trails and such.

During one such search, I found a discussion about the best way of preparing for a thru hike. A hiker suggested doing a lot of hiking, and at least one day a week, hike for nine hours. Not nine miles. Nine hours! I don’t want to do anything for nine hours. Not even read. Or sit at the computer. Or sleep, apparently, since I am now in the habit of waking several times during the night.

But this made me think — parts of the trail are dangerous if you aren’t paying attention, and who can possibly keep themselves focused for nine hours? Among the recent college graduates who make up the bulk of the trail population, there is a good bit of drinking and drugs, and there don’t seem to be a lot of folks falling off cliffs. So perhaps the trail isn’t as dangerous at all. Maybe it truly is a walk in the park.

A boring walk in the park. In  my post “Pretending”, I mentioned that one of the reasons people quit the trail is boredom, and I wonder if it’s a more prevalent reason than people are willing to admit. I remember one woman a long time ago saying she got tired of staring at dirt, and that’s the truth of it. Unless you saunter, as I do, and stop every few minutes to look around, all you see is the ground in front of you. Even out in the desert near here, where the trails I walk are wide enough for off-road vehicles, one misstep could cause an injury. So I see a whole heck of a lot of dirt and sand.

But seeing dirt and sand is still seeing, right? And if all I see is dirt, it would still be nice to see dirt of different colors.

Yep. More adventures.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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