For several years now, I’ve embraced the outdoor opportunities I’ve been permitted to experience and then share with others through writing. There have been tours of remote backcountry on mountain bikes and unaccompanied searches for geocaching treasures. I have soared upside down through the forest on a zip line and attempted to stay right-side up on skis. I’ve bagged a 4,000-foot peak with a group of summer camp kids and documented a successful moose hunt. 

The view from the top of Bald Mountain in Oquossoc. Advertiser Democrat photo by Dee Menear

Recently, I’ve noticed heavier traffic in the wilderness. I take no credit. This, I believe, is a positive shift in thinking that less screen time and more green time is beneficial.

While this shift has cut into the quiet time of a solo hiker like me, I appreciate that others are finding the same joy in the natural world as I do.

On a recent day hike up Bald Mountain in Oquossoc, I was far from alone. The parking areas were packed and trail traffic was heavy.

It was on this hike that I was hit with the realization that whether my fellow hikers were on a solitary expedition, traveling with a companion or surrounded by a circle of sidekicks, everyone had the same shared goal in mind: to summit the mountain and take in the view.

I also noticed that, while we were on the same mission, we all had a different way of getting there.

For some, the path was clear and blazed perfectly for their skill set. Others found the well-beaten path was not the easiest to navigate. They took necessary but unplanned detours around rougher terrain, searching for friendlier footholds and more forgiving slopes.

Some raced the course, eager to reach the end. They seemed to have a timeline of milestones to reach in a set amount of time. These people traveled far and fast. They appeared to be dead set on reaching the peak as quickly as possible.

Some were slower and more methodical. They were lapped by other hikers. It seemed they couldn’t make it without making frequent stops along the way.

I fall somewhere in between. I am deliberate in my journey. I am in tune with my surroundings. I stop often to listen, observe and explore. Often I take a moment to ponder discoveries but if I stop too long to rest, it is likely that I will lose the motivation to continue.

One thing is for certain. At the end of the day, we were all on a path with vastly different ways of getting to the destination.

And, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

For more information about hiking Bald Mountain, a public reserved land, visit Natural Resources Council of Maine at www.nrcm.org.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: