What is a trail? What does it mean to leave a trail? How do you know which trail to follow?
In a past life, I think I was a pioneer or an astronaut. While there is admittedly something intimidating about the unknown, there also resides something inviting. A pull for those with a curious mind or a penchant for risk. Perhaps it is simply born of restlessness and boredom, perhaps it’s something more innate. So much of what we take granted every day can be attributed to discovery. It’s the answers scientists strive for, the uncharted destinations early settlers dream about, the moment you and a stranger find out you have something in common.
Can you ever tell how much someone loves something just by reading their words? Likewise, have you ever just looked at a person and felt the passion radiating off them like a nuclear bomb of joy?
I am so grateful to the outdoor community. Over the years I have learned just how familial this group of people is.
I work in a dull office. In the break room we have a TV mounted on the wall that’s constantly displaying one of those screensaver slideshows of mountains and lakes. Lately I’ve been lingering on my water breaks. I find myself receiving much more nourishment from the images on screen than I get from the water cooler.
8:30am. We arrived at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. As one of the more popular regions in the park, we had set our sights high. Sky Pond.
Nestled between Taylor Peak, Powell Peak, and Thatchtop Mountain, Sky Pond couldn’t have attained a better moniker. At 10,900 ft. this jaw-dropping lake had become that of myth in the weeks leading up to our trip. I familiarized myself with the trail and day by day, fixated on reaching our goal. In my mind, the hike to Sky Pond had become a beast we were meant to conquer. I write this with sore, shaky hands to tell you how the beast kicked our ass.
Seven hours. Seven hours we drove from the comforting buzz of suburbia up the California coast. Two hours of which were spent slogging through Los Angeles freeways in the thick of rush hour. It was night time before we were able to leave the city.
Chatting passed the time, as there was little to look at beyond headlights behind us and the whale-like semi-trucks we passed. Eventually we exit the highway, wandering into unknown territory. A narrow, two-lane road through what seemed like endless rows of an orchard. It was somewhat eerie, only making out the passing lines of trees that the headlights illuminated, but knowing the labyrinth that laid beyond. There would be no charity for hitchhikers here.
Finally, we reached the coast. Backs sore, Spotify-exhausted, and out of politics to discuss, we began the treacherous drive along PCH, just south of Big Sur.