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Backpacking – The Path

If you saw me now at the end of my seventh decade you might find it hard to believe; but I have had a lifetime love of backpacking.

I have never experienced any peace like the peace I have felt trudging up the side of a remote mountain with a heavy pack on my back.  I have never known any wonder that exceeds the wonder I have known lying on my back in a high meadow at midnight gazing into the endless depths of stars.

Even now I hold on to my “gear” in case I might find the strength of body and will to do it “one more time”.  And then, there is the fact that every day when I step out my door, there are the snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide shimmering in the distance calling to me.

This poem is part of a series I wrote on the experience of walking the high mountain trails.  I hope you enjoy it.


Seek out the path
of spring melt flow;
the boot-worn trough
through stubborn root,
jagged stone.

Up and up
a morning’s walk
two thousand feet
six inches at a step.

Shimmering glare, hard,
hot, granite light
the smells of sweat
pine resin,
sun-baked rock.

The trail
no straight way
edges rough, indistinct.
fading into scree, brush,
rotted needle dust
winding in and out across
the massive mountain wall.

All around
the world is descending
stones, leaves, water, wood
a mountain melting, tumbling
toward a rumored shore.

Only we and the wind
are climbing.


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