"There is pleasure in the pathless woods"
"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books." John Lubbock
Walking along the famous Appalachian Trail this weekend got me thinking once again about a favorite subject - travel. Sometimes travel gets complicated (customs, visas, missed connections, currency exchange, language barriers). Other travel experiences are as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy exotic places and learning local culture and and don't mind working to get there. But this weekend was all about the simple pleasures.
At its most basic level, travel only requires two things:
being in motion
a desire for new experiences
I spent the weekend on a particularly scenic stretch of the Appalachian Trail near Mount Rogers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Over two days our journey covered approximately 15 miles - pretty miniscule compared to world travelers - but there were a multitude of wonderful experiences in that short span of time.
Every bend in the trail offered up another view of the mountains. Chatting with other hikers and National Park Service Rangers is always illuminating. Standing atop the summit of Virginia's highest mountain supplied a nice feeling of satisfaction. Going the distance in the rain with a 40+ pound backpack provided a little physical and mental challenge to work through while trying to keep spirits up. Yes, travel includes a few sour notes every once in a while. It's part of the overall experience, especially with outdoor travel.
Not everyone who reads this blog will be inclined to hoist on a backpack and hit the trail. You can, however, experience the simple joys of travel without much effort or money or flying across a continent. Explore a hidden corner of your own community or a neighboring one. You never know what you'll find.
Ask your innkeeper at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast for a list of worthy hikes or walks in the woods not far from The Claiborne House. She can point you to a few fantastic take-your-breath-away-vistas and you will soon understand why she says "Meet Virginia, she'll tear your heart out!"