Friday, September 26, 2014

From Trails to Mountain Tops...and Beyond

Ever since my feet first took tentative steps along the sandy Bright Angel Trail I have been defined by trails. I have plotted grand loops through wilderness and linear objectives measuring by the thousands. I have spent entire summers walking winding paths from end to end never questioning, never leaving their tread, never skipping a single foot of their distance. I have highlighted maps and checked off lists. In the winters I have run them, up and down and along and always for the miles.

In my fervent desire to be surrounded with mountain bliss I have taken the only path I knew–the trail. Some are well-worn freeways of the back-country. Others are forgotten, abandoned bushwhacks that have sliced me to ribbons and drenched me in dew. Always they have taken me deep into the heart of where I want to be and left me staring up at the austere and glorious peaks that create the majesty I long to immerse myself in.


One can only soar amidst the peaks for just so long before the urge to alight atop the summit is too strong to ignore.

This summer I have left the trail behind. 
I have flown.

I have soared.

I have inched my way up rock and snow. 

I have pulled my body over and through courses I'd never imagined. 

I've learned new vocabulary, new skills, a new passion.

I have pushed into new terrain and in the process unearthed abilities I didn't know I possessed.

I have always called the mountains home, but I have gained a new sense of that. 

My skill-set is growing. I feel more and more as though there is no terrain I cannot cross. That my journeys into the wild can become seamless adventures. Where trail is utilized, but not all-controlling. Where neither rock, nor snow, nor brushy terrain can keep me from finding my way. It may be slower, but it is fuller.

My focus has been the top 100 peaks of Washington as listed on the Bulger List, but I have gone to many other summits as well. I can stand atop a peak and survey a landscape with new satisfaction.

My feet may be anchored firmly to the talus, but my heart has spread its wings and launched into the wild blue.

All photos courtesy Adam Walker


  1. Washington is an amazing place I'll have to get up there asap.

  2. Your writing is superb and speaks directly to my heart! Thank you!

  3. Love finding new passions! I just fell down a mountain yesterday and there is definitely terrain I can't cross, so I am impressed with your skills. Rock on.

  4. Sweet! Rock climbing is fun :)

  5. You should meet my friend Vine Maple that lives on 40 degree slopes and make you reminisce about how wonderful trails are.