I believe in leaving the clutter of civilization behind and spending time in the woods. For all that technology and industry are beneficial there is a joy in the simplicity that a trip into the woods imposes on us. Even the short trips to the hiking trails at the local park provide a sense of peace that is all the more important in our hectic lives. But for me, it is the trips to the true wilderness and the time spent on the trail that provides that a true sense of contentment.
My first experience with the deep woods was when I visited the Boy Scout high adventure canoe base in northern Minnesota. Over the course of that nine day trip I “got bit by the bug”. Since then I have been back to the north woods twice; first as a participant, and then as trail staff for the high adventure program. As staff I spent nearly the entire summer on the trail. I traveled five hundred miles and spent the time with eight different crews.
The reactions that these crews displayed when we hit the trail were almost comic in their similarity. The first day the crew would be obviously excited in the great adventure that they were setting out on. The second day the crew would be subdued as they began to realize just how remote the experience was from anything they had experienced before. The third day the crews would begin to gain assurance in their skills, and by the end to their trip the crew were always noticeably more confident, more relaxed, and generally in a better mood. Seeing this time and again reaffirms the way that I feel about the woods.
I found the woods canoeing along the Canadian border, but it could just as easily be somewhere else. Whether you join me on the lakes or go backpacking in the mountains there is a joy to leaving it all behind for a few days. Wherever you chose to go, listen for the bird calls and take time to smell the scent of the pine and bracken. Leave the world behind you and hit the trail. There is something that is deeply soothing in sitting down on a rock, with nothing to bother you, and watching the sun sink below the horizon.
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