May 2013
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Why do I walk?

I like to get out and walk, hike up a mountain or backpack into a wilderness. Sometimes I wonder why. Sometimes it is looking up at the challenge that drives me to go to the top. It could be the walk from home to the top of Mt. Rubidoux.


Being on top or Mt. Rubidoux offers a view, some days it is better than others. It is a place to go for a walk and let the breeze gently blow by.

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Being in the wilderness offers its benefits, a time to find peace, quiet and time to reflect. Not everyone takes the time to venture back into the wilderness. On this outing, the trip to the top was not in the cards. Snow has a way of making things more difficult. As with life, there always seems to be obstacles. There is always another day to get to the top. This day was a day to enjoy the creations of God and the beauty around me from where I was at.


Some years are better than others. On the other hand, almost every day is a good day to go for a walk. Walking in the wilderness is one of my favorites, especially where God does a little more watering. There always seems to be a peace where there is a lot of green. There also seems to be bugs at times. But that is part of life.


Sometimes the adventure has its challenges. As we continue to progress through life or our journeys, things can change. We may find obstacles. Some may scare us more than others. One slip and there may be a slide to pain and agony. Not a thought that made me feel comfortable. However, it is all part of the adventure, a part of getting out into nature.


With all good walks or hikes, there is usually a goal. When the goal comes into view, it makes it easier to push on. Of course, being over 11,000 feet in the air has its own challenges. A little less oxygen comes to mind. It becomes just another fact that makes the trip more special and a place where less people are to be found.


Of course, being on top is great. On a clear day you can see for miles. On any day, you also know that it is several miles back to the vehicle. But that is alright, it is great to be out in the wilderness on a walk, hike or backpacking trip.


As I was reading the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association bulletin board this evening fro trail conditions, I came across a large quote from Colin Fletcher found in his book, “The Complete Walker.” It is a great quote. After I read it, I looked at the clock and decided to go for a walk tonight. The walk was almost 5 miles with plenty of dirt trails and not many people when I was on the trails. A good breeze was blowing from offshore which cooled down the air to about 80 degrees, which is nice and cool as compared to the high of over 100 degrees yesterday. Now for the quote:

“I had better admit right away that walking can in the end become an addiction, and that it is then as deadly in its fashion as heroin or television or the stock exchange. But even in this final stage it remains a delectable madness, very good for sanity, and I recommend it with a passion.

A redeeming feature of the condition is that no matter how heavily you have been hooked you can still get your kicks from very small doses.
Ten minutes’ drive from my apartment there is a long, grassy ridge from which you can look out over parkland and sprawling metropolis, over bay and ocean and distant mountains. I often walk along this ridge in order to think uncluttered thoughts or to feel with accuracy or to sweat away a hangover or to achieve some other worthy end, recognized or submerged.

And I usually succeed – especially with the thinking. Up there, alone with the wind and the sky and the steep grassy slopes, I nearly always find after a while that I am beginning to think more clearly. Yet “think” does not seem to be quite the right word. Sometimes, when it is a matter of making a choice, I do not believe I decide what to do so much as discover what I have decided. It is as if my mind, set free by space and solitude and oiled by the body’s easy rhythm, swings open and releases thoughts it has already formulated. Sometimes, when I have been straining too hard to impose order on an urgent press of ideas, it seems only as if my mind has slowly relaxed; and then, all at once, there is room for the ideas to fall into place in a meaningful pattern.”

So I guess the question is, “Why do I walk?” The answer may be as simple as “To get to the top.” But the real reason may also be as simple as a time to think, contemplate and make decisions without the clutter and demand of the noise that we place ourselves in every day.

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