Such was the case with a jaunt out the aptly named “Mountain Loop Highway” to a peak called Mount Dickerman. Likely named after some wealthy dude a hundred years ago, it made me ponder whether I would have let ego ride high and pushed for that sort of legacy. Hmm…probably.
By mid-morning there were 40+ cars at the trailhead. (I don’t use an alarm clock, so I guess bed felt good.) We had left behind thick fog in the coastal lowlands and were greeted by a honeyed sun dripping through an ancient forest. The first of three dozen switchbacks angled us upward at a gentle but persistent grade.
Its no wonder that Recreational Equipment Incorporated (with its $1.8 billion in sales for 2011) began in Seattle where so many weekend warriors abide. Summer trails around here swarm with folks of all shapes, sizes, levels of preparedness, and motivation.
We had many nice exchanges with folks and Ursula-the-Aussie-doodle got petted numerous times. Thankfully, I have found it extremely rare to come upon a grouchy hiker. Nearly everyone says hello and the ones that don’t are probably just out of breath or have their boots laced to tight. Amongst natural surroundings, unplugged and attuned, people generally feel calmer, energized, and just plain more them.
Of course, there are such unfortunates who seem to get louder and louder when the environment gets quieter and quieter. Perhaps in wilderness they are far out of their element, whereas I feel more in mine. So, unless you are wrestling for limited campsites, crowds are not too much of a hinderance to communion. Or, common-union. The definition of yoga, really.
I believe this sense of connection is “it.” This “it” is inherent in all of us and just takes some practice developing. Humanity, in my opinion, is not the scourge it is frequently made out be. We are of the earth, not just on it. We are the environment. We’ve just become disconnected and out of balance.Can you feel “it?” Really feel it? It is all around. And not just on a solitary summit.