Why endure frigid nights sleeping outdoors on the ground? Why take on the burden of a heavy pack, and a long, long walk?
Not just for the fresh air, or the views, or the exercise, or for the sake of making friends on the trail…
But to awaken a deep appreciation for Nature in all her moods.
And a deep gratitude for small comforts. Comforts that aren’t so small after all—
A hot shower.
A warm bed.
Just to be out of the wind.
A real pride in my own strength—
That my back held up to the weight of the pack (quite a victory there)!
And my knees and feet carried me over all those rocky trails with their many switchbacks.
And finally, there’s this: to box up everyday life, with all its mundane worries, and shelve it for a week. Boarding the dog, trusting my teenage son to be on his own. Getting down to more primal concerns—
Will I freeze?
What was that noise?
Can I make it up this hill before dark?
To come back refreshed and ready to enter the old life again, with a fresh sense of purpose and clarity.
I’m glad I did.
And I would do it again.