My Epic Journey of Self

The most popular hiking memoirs (print, online or eBook) today have a certain style that is apparently popular.

It is not enough to walk a well maintained trail with ample resources such as good books, maps, electronic apps,  and other resources.  Or merely immerse yourself in the beauty of the mountains, canyons and woods for days or even weeks on end.

No. The journeys must reflect the struggle. How hard it is. The challenge. The hunger. The cold. The heat. The plagues of locust apparently.

Everything.  Is.  Epic.

Apparently, backpacking trips are a bit like The Road now?

Perhaps I am missing something.

Maybe every outdoor journey really is an epic. Perhaps I am not just seeing this aspect of being outdoors?

So, I am going to make an attempt at this type of EPIC ADVENTURE.

Maybe I’ll see it is not enough to enjoy the outdoors…but I need to make my own epic journey of self?

*****

The Chill Cool of Autumn: My Epic Journey Of Self

It was a chill Fall day. A day that portends the kind of adventure I would face. Solo, the world would be cruel. But I am strong. I will face the challenges the trail will send my way.  I will conquer the trail.

I hoisted my pack on my shoulders. The nylon material seemed as part of my body as an arm or leg.  It was a constant companion on my journeys.

As I walked through the leaf strewn trail, I thought of the desolation I was walking through. The beautiful leaves now decaying on the ground.  Fleeting joy and beauty a few weeks ago. Now gone.

12096265_10154361321255021_3087931985567684561_n

Life. So fleeting.

I continued to walk the trail. The hard climb challenged me. My muscles strained as I reached the ridge. The sweat on my shirt reminded me of the upcoming chill of the coming winter.

The rocks poked and prodded. The branches brushed against me. I came into a clearing. The warm sun brought forth new life. I was one with the Earth.

I walked off-trail along the ridge. The ridge led forth into the distance. Much like the journey I was taking. One step at a time I would reach the summit. One step at a time I would complete the journey.

The summit view was before me. I could see far into the distance. I could see places I would go in the days to come. I could see potential. A potential in my own life as well as the journey.

Enjoying the view

I stoically gaze off into the distance.

I continued on. Met up with the trail again.

I walked to a junction. The junction was merely marked as trails rather than THE TRAIL. Which one was THE trail? Much like my life, a decision had to be made. Which path to follow? The path where I would triumph in victory over the trail? Or the path that would lead to the wrong way and hardship?  I pulled out my map. I pulled out my compass. I pulled out my databook. I pulled out my guidebook. I pulled out my iPhone. I pulled out my GPS. I struggled with a 3G connection and tweeted to Hikers for insight.  I barely had enough bandwidth to post a selfie with the junction.

A very "useful" Half-Way sign. Half of the elevation

I rejoice. I found my sign.

I was seeking guidance.

The world answered.

I was guided.

Soon I made the decision which path to follow. I followed the path of my salvation. I followed the correct trail. I was back on The Trail.

Camp was made. It was cold that night. In the vast wilderness I was alone.

Only the skills I’ve learned over thousands of miles of hiking kept me warm. Fed. Safe. Alive.

Yeeeah!

An exultation at #livingauthentically

I woke up. I had triumphed over the dark and cruel night.

I was down to merely oatmeal, Nido, dried fruit and nuts for the five-mile hike to the trailhead. My hunger was intense. The stomach was growling for attention. Would I be able to complete the journey?

I made it to the road. I had left the wilderness.

I am independent. Self contained. Strong.

RTH-statue

Independent Man -(Providence, RI statehouse). From RI NPR. A true representation of my soaring spirit.

I managed to get a 4G connection.

Wonder how my GoFundMe campaign is doing?

#livingauthentically #neverstopexploring #walkingwithbeauty #blessed #hashbrownsareawesome #strong #namaste #epic  #mindfulandmeaningful #independent #pushinglimits #brave #lifeistobelivednotsurvived  #youshouldallbesolucky

*****

Hmm..I don’t think this is quite for me. I’ll just stick to simply being outside and enjoying a cuppa Joe while breaking camp in the morning. The Epic Journey of Self (TM) is too tiring. 🙂

UPDATE: And this New York Times article that came out today (11/6/) seems rather apropos!

(And thanks for the suggestion of more #Hashtags folks! :D)

Or a beer. I’ve been known to pack in a beer sometimes…

 

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Marie
Marie
4 years ago

I love it! Great, EPIC work Paul Mags!

Nick Gatel
Nick Gatel
4 years ago

Well… you know my perspective – it’s just walking.

Nice post.

Pony (Clay Evans)
4 years ago

Hilarious, mate.

John
John
4 years ago

Whew….. that WAS epic! Glad you made it out alive. 🙂

Another Kevin
4 years ago

As Chesterton observed, adventures are called inconveniences when you’re having them. If you try to have an adventure, you’re doing it wrong. It’s the mistakes that make the best tales of the trail. When you’re on a bar stool afterward.

Buck Nelson
4 years ago

I think real life without the hype is too boring for many people. Reality shows make a walk to the mailbox a life threatening experience. I guess that’s what sells.

Rick
Rick
4 years ago

Awesome…..hahahahahahaha………

Dan
Dan
4 years ago

Epic is the most misused and overused word in social media.

Doug K
4 years ago

you should have worked in a few addictions, some nasty sex and a few victimizations.. then pad it with the history of the area, the backpack (a supply chain that wends through the whole of Asia, lots of story material there). Then you too could be a bestseller 😉
Or, maybe just going for a walk is good enough.. ha.

Dirk Rabdau
Dirk Rabdau
4 years ago

Terrific!

Fred Ggoff
Fred Ggoff
4 years ago

My god Pauly!

Cam "Swami" Honan
4 years ago

Nice article, but where are all the selfies? Any hiking blogger worth his salt knows you can’t have a truly Epic post without at least five or six closeups. Wonder, despair, agony, perseverance, relief, joy – nothing like half a dozen selfies to show your readers the inner-you. 😉

#blogauthentically #magslovesselfies #FKTRule

Gary "Shutterbug" Lawton
Gary "Shutterbug" Lawton
4 years ago

Friends have asked me to write a book about my hikes and adventures, but I think it would bore them to sleep within a few pages. I think you just have to get out there on the trail and see if it’s for you. I love being out on the trail in the outdoors. Enough said.

Gerry Brucia
Gerry Brucia
4 years ago

Bravo, Mags. You made me laugh a bunch first thing in the morning…a great way to start the day. You truly have a gift for writing. Maybe a monthly gag trail report is in the works.

After reading too many of these stories and thinking about my own hikes, I have often thought what the hell would I write about and concluded that no one would give a s#*t about what I would have to say and it’s none of their damn business!

Not a Chance
4 years ago

Hey Mags, you know someone once told me they ham it up to get things…$$$, shoes, a computer…etc. It’s a scam! And also, this way of writing gets you FAME! Because readers that don’t hike think we’re doing the impossible!

Not a Chance
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Mags

Now I’m hungry. I had to google Bread and Circuses.

Mmmm ham and bread.

Carrot
Carrot
4 years ago

Hey Mags, This type of storytelling/writing has been around since ancient times. It’s called the hero’s journey: http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero's_journey.htm You see it in many movies (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, etc) and books (The Hunger Games, The Odyssey, Harry Potter, etc). It’s compelling to us as readers/watchers because we can follow along with the main character as they leave their regular life, which we can relate to and is familiar to us, and venture out into the unknown, overcoming challenges and eventually returning forever changed. It’s also what many people experience on their first long-distance hike (when everything… Read more »

Carrot
Carrot
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Mags

Adventure-oriented GoFundMe’s that promise nothing of value in return for the support of the backer fail as well. It’s the brutal math of crowdfunding, and it’s the same on any platform.(GoFundMe’s for medical costs or other crises expenses etc are of course a different story.)

And are you kidding? Cold Mountain was totally over-dramaticized! “I hid in the woods with only a handful of cornmeal to eat. The mysterious goat lady nursed back to health.” Etc. I love that book so much.

Josh Bradshaw
Josh Bradshaw
4 years ago

Reminded me of Cedar Wright’s epic journey of self: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS-CcTIXaIU

L Dog
L Dog
1 year ago

A Hero’s Journey indeed!