The Path Less Traveled

James - Cheney, Washington
Entered on February 15, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I looked both ways. In either direction I could see miles and miles of unpaved, deserted roads and it was then that I realized that I believe in riding my bicycle along the path less traveled

I left the house nearly equipped for a NASA expedition. I filled my pockets with my cell phone and my mp3 player and some kind of specially formulated sports drink and rode down to the trailhead. Throughout the 3 paved miles of trail, I raced to see how fast I could go, passing the occasional person (who avoided my glance) and made it to the end in record time. It was then that I noticed that the trail continued as a rough, dirty, unpaved road that I had never traveled before. Having no other plans for that warm Thursday, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and bumped along the mysterious path.

No longer able to ride at supersonic speeds, I slowed my pace and looked around as the trail passed through a wildlife refuge. Little by little, the ride became all about the journey, not the destination. I took off my headphones and listened to all of the fascinating sounds that emanated from the deserted surroundings, my tires only quietly crackling beneath me. I rode alongside several marshes and was captivated by the way the golden sun flowed over the distant hills and sparkled over the small ripples in the water. I traveled through the cool air inside abandoned railroad tunnels and past the sheer red rock that sometimes rose 50 feet on either side of me. My drink soon spent, I refilled from a nearby creek, sat down, and looked around as I sipped the murky water, tossing small rocks down the hill to see how far they would tumble.

Riding along this deserted trail, my concerns fade away. For a few short hours, I don’t fret about important, life-changing decisions that I will eventually have to make, and I don’t agonize over homework assignments that will soon come due or TV shows that I might miss. All I am concerned with is keeping my balance, breathing the fresh air, and casually wondering what might be around that next bend in the path.