In praise of front-country trails

10:40 p.m. on March 17, 2010 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "In praise of front-country trails"

Pass under the train trestle, then past the dam. The trail I hiked today started behind an old woolen mill (which burned down in January) and ended 2.5 miles later alongside a penstock just beyond a train trestle bridge and small dam (which warned repeatedly of death if I strayed off the metal walkway). The short, five-mile, out-and-back hike may not have been the most primitive hiking route in M...

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1:34 p.m. on March 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Excellent article, Alicia. Thanks for the reminder. I live in a place where I am surrounded by Nature, yet I very seldom just go for a walk of short hike near my home. Gotta' change that! Thanks

4:45 p.m. on March 18, 2010 (EDT)
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My childhood memories are filled with woods like this. Growing up in the 'burbs, I never knew there was a difference in my patch of woods down the street and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park until I got older. One was just a bigger patch of woods. All I knew was that I had some kind of yearning to be in my little woods and just be away from the rest of the world.

It's amazing to think of the things that fascinated me so much compared to now. It was a whole lot more simpler things. There was a stormwater drainage ditch that I imagined at one time used to be a roaring creek with a big waterfall at one end. Then there was a big thicket that I used to call Death Valley because there was no shade their except briar patches and in the summer if you got it in it you would burn up.

I even mapped out my woods and had names for all these places.

Now I've got some other woods I go to and take my family. Same kind of places like in the article. I just don't see them the same way like I used to. Maybe I should.

4:50 p.m. on March 18, 2010 (EDT)
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The Bay Area has so many of these kinds of trails that I could hardly ever justify the time and expense of driving four hours each way to the mountains to hike on backcountry trails.

The middle of N. Carolina has considerably fewer, which means I'll probably be doing a lot more driving this summer.

Basically I need some woods to walk in; the locale is secondary.

11:59 a.m. on March 21, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks for the comments. Sometimes it just comes down to perspective. We also have a number of short, but far more rustic trails than this in my town. I can run from my house to the top of one and back and not think it's a big deal (it's only a few miles) because I do it every week, but others visiting the area regard the trail portion alone as a bonafide "Hike."

I think it's nice when you have different options for different people and schedules and your own mood. As Rocklion says, it can be especially powerful for kids to have natural places to explore. I remember doing the same as a kid, but I think we build up boundaries and labels about what is a hike or the outdoors as we get older (or at least I have, I'm working on expanding it again and getting rid of the labels).

June 20, 2018
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