As ‘luck’ and perseverance has it I’ve been able to travel a great deal. I usually travel with a plan to see as many trails and trail sights as I can on the way to somewhere, or on the way to nowhere but trails and more trails.
Sometimes my trips involve research and mapping with Google Earth and Garmin beforehand. Other times it involves reading forums of local hiking and mountain bike groups to find what I want, including joining local groups and fellow travelers for trail excursions. There are also times that aren’t planned, or the only plan is to just find the trailhead and go for it, perhaps asking a passer by or two for suggestions or keeping to myself.
Some of my favorite journeys have involved exploring trails with friends and loved ones on adventures we dubbed “odysseys” because they were often over twenty miles, usually involved new-to-us dirt, and for some time involved a Honda Odyssey that birthed miles of smiles.
There is more open space than I thought, until I thought about it more, and I’ve had a lot of time to think about it driving across Turtle Island. It takes even longer of course if your course is circuitous and peppered with interludes of stopping to breathe in trail dust and smell the forest along the way.
Some of my travel has been with others, but many miles have been driven alone. This isn’t everything I feel about driving alone, but it hit home: A Love Letter to Driving Alone
The map below is still being populated, but gives a general sense of the depth and breadth of my trail travels.
As a trail user that is also a builder it’s hard for me not to identify the brilliance, as well as the mistakes, not to mention the sweat, in every trail’s birth and life. I’ve had the chance to experience thousands of miles of trail, usually 1,000-2,000 miles/year before moving east. My wide array of experiences has given me insight into the successful and unsuccessful elements of trails in various climates and soil conditions– its also been good for my heart and mind.