Finding Your Path
Mulling over trail maps, reading reviews and talking with visitor center rangers has filled lots of our time. Trying to get to the most beautiful places in the country has been a big motivation for this trip. This is truly an amazing planet we live on, and it feels like a shame to not go explore it. Its been a joy to see some of these historically beautiful places which have influenced painters and poets, writers and warriors, they have been places of hope and places of fear. And like lots of travelers we want to go see those places. Instagram photos and macbook screen savers make us want to get to that exact spot to see them in real life. And so us and about 30,000 other people all want to wander down the same path to see that one view. And though usually spectacular, it is often dulled by the crowds, wide trails and the millions of cameras and pictures being taken.
Something we have really enjoyed on this journey is heading down dirt roads to remote places. Finding a spot by a lake or heading down vague trails to truly wild places. Seeing some maybe less magestic, but still amazing views and spending time wild camping from the desert to the mountains to the coast. And often a lot of our favorite places were a suggestion from a local or a place we just stumbled upon.
Driving into Olympic National Park a few months back, with our good friends Frank and Mary, we pulled off the road because we were sick of driving and ready for some pretzels and hummus. We found the first pull off and decided to hike the nearby trail. We ended up coming out onto one of the most beautiful alpine lakes I have ever seen. Crystal clear, and glassy wit the refection of the tress and the white capped mountains resting on the waters edge. This place was unreal. We had to stay. We spent all afternoon bathing in the icy water, paddling around the parimeter and enjoying the serene view of those towering mountains up the valley. We never would have seen this lake had we kept driving or waited for someone to tell us which hikes to do.
I think we spend a lot of our lives trying to find the right trail. But what Ive found is the joy of just heading down a trail and see whats around the bend, heading down less visited paths and finding amazing sights and wonderful places. I think we need to think less about heading down the right or perfect path, and just starting on one and see where it takes you. You might not end up a millionaire or instafamous, but you might just discover exactly what you were made to do, and you might just change a persons life, or a family, or a neighborhood. It is often the less popular trail or the far out places that I get the most perspective, I learn something about a place, I wonder more, and if anything I get a little exercise. Sometimes I think instead of trying to find the right project or career or life goal, we just need to start down a path and if anything we get a little exercise, we learn something, and we often gain a little nugget of perspective.