I have a confession to make: Though I have the gift of time, as with most Americans, I often need to make even free time goal oriented.
I *must* backpack this canyon. I really *should* hike to these obscure dwellings. I *need* to go to this National Park.
I think that is why the Lettered Routes are so acclaimed in part. You aren’t just camping and hiking for five months; you are achieving a goal! You are making a journey, adding something to the life resume, and weren’t just vagabonding.
Americans love goals.
Running 26.2 miles along bike paths and backcountry roads on the weekend is a challenge. Add a t-shirt, a medal, a numbered bib, some water stations, and an entry fee? You are a marathon runner!
And I am indeed a part of this culture. I rarely take days where I do nothing. Even my town days have a curious rhythm of my past thru-hikes: I’ll shower, do laundry, catch up on photos and this website, email, and resupply. Heck, I just realized I call it a town day, too. 🙂
So the past few days, I did something different. I relaxed in the original sense of the word. No goals. No hikes to check off. I’d make coffee, sit around for most the morning, maybe check out a hike or two a bit later, or I would read and enjoy the view from camp or perhaps sit on the cliffs above and savor where I called home for a bit.
I found an obscure and dispersed site tucked off the road in what I am still calling Bears Ears National Monument. I made it my home for a few days.
I never ventured more than a fifteen-mile drive away.
And the hikes? The smaller, typically family or tourist hikes I’ve always neglected due to limited vacation time. I had goals to achieve in the past, after all! 🙂
Three miles round trip or so…or less in some cases.
Oh, I’d still poke around and follow some social trails. And see something usually overlooked by many. But I was never far from what the majority views.
And sometimes the well-known is well-known for a reason. I finally saw the House of Fire. And I hit the light just fine for some photo ops.
And one day I did not even drive. I merely did a whopping two miles round trip to a dinosaur track located near my camp.
I can’t picture doing too many of these trip types. I am, afterall, an American. 🙂
But once in a while, they sure are nice.