What Makes a Trail Interesting?

What Makes a Trail Interesting?

I am sure there are as many different answers to that as there are people out on the trails. But it is a question I have been thinking a lot about over the last few days.

I had spent a lovely day on a trail that it is one of the lesser-used trails in the Smokies. Hiking for miles without seeing any other people on this particular day this was exactly what I needed. Going along at a slow pace taking pictures of small flowers and mushrooms, even a small snake that I shared the trail with and listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.


Not Very Interesting?

Then on my way back down the trail I ran into another hiker who stopped to speak and said, “Not a very interesting trail is it?” I know what everyone is looking for is different and that is good. I can’t help but think that sometimes people forget that the hike is not just about the dramatic sights but about all the wonders along the way. This was a trail that is just a trail along a ridge; no majestic views, no waterfalls, but no less interesting if you just take the time to see.

I often experience this as I tell people about places I have hiked to. Often what they want to know is what was it that I hiked to. Was there a river or a waterfall, maybe an old homestead or a panoramic view? Don’t get me wrong; I love seeing these things too, but if I tell them that I just walked along the ridge for a couple of miles many people find this hard to understand.

Some Days It Is the Little Things

Maybe it is because I spent a lot of time when I first started hiking looking at my feet trying not to fall but I have always enjoyed the little things. Flowers, mushrooms, and small creatures come in an amazing variety. I see new ones on almost every hike. So next time you are on the trail (or even on the sidewalk in the park) look down. Sometimes you might be surprised what you find.

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