Posts tagged ‘hiking’

April 22, 2013

Book Recommendation – “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed

Nearly half way through her 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed watched the hiking boots she had just taken off sail over a ledge, cartwheel through the air, and disappear forever into a carpet of trees far below.  Bootless yet undaunted, Strayed continued her hike.

Gritty is one way to describe Strayed’s book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, in which she tells the tale of her solo three-month trek on a long-distance hiking route that spans 2,663 miles and crosses nine mountain ranges in the states of California, Oregon and Washington.

But the book is also very human. Besides the boot fiasco and other unexpected obstacles — like record snowfalls that buried portions of the trail, and having to hike 100 miles with only two cents in her pocket — Strayed trudged through a landslide of grief over the failure of her marriage, the death of her mother, and the disintegration of her family as she knew it.

Alternately laugh-out-loud funny, eyes-bug-out awe-inspiring, and crumble-inside heart-wrenching, Wild is the story of not just a physical hike, but a trek to pull the loose strands of a fraying life together into a new and cohesive whole. . . one step at a time.

Highly recommended.

Cover image of the book "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed

“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed

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April 8, 2013

The prize for walking the slowest

One of my all-time favourite books is Walking Home:  A Woman’s Pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail by Kelly Winters. The book is a memoir of Winters’ six-month hike along the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine — a journey that requires trekking 10-20 miles or more each day, day after day after day, in order to complete the full distance before the snow flies.  Trail hikers often become obsessed with going as far as they can as fast as they can, writes Winters, noting one particular campfire discussion about “trail records” held by people who hiked or ran the Trail in the fewest number of days.  I love what Winters has to say next:

If I ever had to set a Trail record, I’d want the prize for walking it in the slowest time.  I’d hike two miles a day and look at every flower, every stone, every view and every footprint, and I’d spend every afternoon watching clouds, talking to birds, and chatting with other hikers.

Such is the art of being truly present — of being unrushed, of living in the moment, of being aware of your surroundings and engaging with them, of simply being a part of the world instead of burning on by it on the fast track to somewhere else.

The prize for walking the slowest.  Something worth aspiring to, I’d say.

September 9, 2012

Observed on the “street” (trail): Tree bears

Observed on the trail during a hike I did today: two trees, each “marked by a bear” in different ways.

  1. This beech tree had the honour of being scaled by a bear.  The claw marks, which ran all the way up the trunk, are easy to spot on trees with smooth, clean bark like this one.

Beech tree sporting claw marks from a bear up its trunk.

 

2.  This tree (also a beech) sported a marking that looked like the head of a bear.  Natural or human-carved, I couldn’t quite tell.

Beech tree with a marking like the head of a bear on its trunk.

 

Granted, it looks more like the head of a polar bear than of a black bear that you would find in my neck of the woods.  It also looks like the head of a beaver, but, hey, beggars can’t be choosers!  I do think that what appears to be a giant claw mark below the head helps lend credence to the bear idea, no?  😉