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  • Post published:June 15, 2024

I have often written of my hiking adventures. Taking journeys on my own two legs is a preferred choice of travel. Themes from Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” always fuel the wanderlust in my bloodstream.

I love the company of other trekkers, but also enjoy the solitary walk. There are those trails that are favorites that I go back to time and again just to be among the familiar: the landscape, the water falls, the rock formations, the twists and turns of the path through thick forests, but mainly I return to remember. To remember and process the circumstances, thoughts, and feelings that might have driven me to this trail. To remember the companions who walked with me, our conversations, our laughter.

There is always an extra thrill of finding a trail that is new to me, every step taken into the unknown, every view is new, every smell and sound is fresh and different to my senses. I imagine myself as the first to trod this path, the first to behold these wonders of nature.

There is heightened expectation and marveling with each new trail taken, coming upon some scenic wonder that would take my breath away by its splendor or the surprise of something that might do me harm. To be awed by the sight of an avalanche tumbling down the snow-capped mountains as I experienced on the Rob Roy trail in New Zealand, or to freeze in fear at the rattlesnake stretched across the path on the Virgin Falls trail. I am blessed with wonderful, collected memories of trekking adventures in God’s creation.

A cherished memory of hiking my favorite trail is with my two brothers and our father. It was a few years before he died, and he struggled to make the final ascent at the end of the trail. We had to stop more often than usual for Dad to catch his breath. In one of those restful moments, Dad said, “Boys, this may be the last time I can do this trail with you.” It was, and since then every time I make that final ascent on that trail, I think of my dad and brothers. Yes, I think of Dad every time I don his old hat and set my foot on the path.

Camerado, I give you my hand!

I give you my love more precious than money,

I give you myself before preaching or law;

Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me?

Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?”

“Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman