Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Fellow Travelers

I was out hiking a rather dangerous and long trail a weekend ago with a couple good friends of mine. I've always enjoyed hiking; the thrill of the journey, the ever present shadow of danger and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. We were on a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which goes through some of the poorest areas of Southwest Virginia, west of Roanoke.

About half way through our trek, we noticed a young man, no older than 16 or 17, closing quickly in behind us, carrying a large satchel which looked to be filled with produce and common household stuff. It seemed odd, us three out hiking in somewhat expensive climbing gear, acting as if we were trekking a dangerous pass in the Himalayas; and him, with old sneakers, carrying way more stuff than us, flying past, unaffected by the hazards of trail. He smiled as he passed us, said "Hi ya'll!" and kept moving.

After another 2 hours on the trail, we noticed the boy coming back the other way, leaving from what looked to be a very run down, very old wooden shanty house. Of course our mouths moved faster than our minds, and we asked the kid "How long you been hiking? You are very fast!." He smiled, as he paused for a moment, and said "Hiking? hahah I'm no hiker. I'm just out gettin' stuff for Mom." Suddenly I felt about 3 inches high.

I guess you don't have to label yourself a hiker to be on the same trail as others. I'm just gonna go ahead and presume you all get the moral of the story here. :-)


  1. Thanks for sharing this--and it is a great lesson to be learned. On a side note I too love hiking and backpacking. We have some beautiful country to hike and backpack in out here in Colorado.

    I need to get back into better shape so I can go back to this one spot that my family loves. It's wayyyyy up there but worth it because no one is around for miles and you get to live around wild moose.

  2. Your post reminds me of the fact that although before Siddhartha there was no Buddhism there was still the path. Siddhartha said, "It is just as if a man, traveling along a wilderness track, were to see an ancient path, an ancient road, traveled by people of former times.” . . . “I have found an ancient path, an ancient road, traveled by the Truly Awakened Ones of former times.” SN 12.65

  3. James, I love Colorado's terrain, however, I can't ever seem to get used to the high altitude things. But, i think it is some the country's most beautiful landscape.

    Tallis - Yes, you are very perceptive. :-) I had actually thought about that passage when I wrote that. Thank you!