Planning for exploration, secrets

Home|Opinion|Editor's Column|Planning for exploration, secrets

One of the best things about family and friends coming to town is that you get to play tourist. When my parents come to town, we tend to explore the area, and I get to take them to landmarks they haven’t visited before.

This week, my brother came to town, and we got to explore the area, as well. We opted to do most of our exploring in the great outdoors.

For the weeks leading up to his visit, which lasted just three days and two days of travel, I asked friends for advice on where to go for long day hikes. I pored over maps and hiking books about the Bighorns. I tried to remember trails I’d come across on other hikes and photos I’ve seen others post on social media documenting their adventures.

For somebody who keeps companies like Post-it in business, makes to-do lists in her head and relishes in checking things off those lists, planning for a few days of hiking is a welcome distraction and true source of enjoyment.

When I go on my annual backpacking trip with a group of female friends, another gal in the group tends to be the planner, and I’m happy to take off that hat and just enjoy the ride.

But, when somebody that isn’t familiar with the area comes to town, that planning hat goes right back on, and I start making lists.

Of course, I have my favorite hikes and a number of treks on my to-do list. We’ll have to play by ear where we go based on weather and when we pull ourselves from the comfort of our beds each morning. I also have to consider my own physical fitness and his.

He lives in Wisconsin. The town in which he lives has an elevation of 790 feet. We’ll have to ease into the higher elevation hikes when he gets here. But, he’s training for a backpacking trip that’s planned for August in the Cascade Mountains, so I know he’s hoping to tackle some hiking that will help him push his limits and prepare.

There’s something about a trip on the trails that brings people closer together.

My husband and I took a week to backpack through a national park in New Zealand, and the aforementioned annual trip with my group of gal pals usually lasts a couple of days. After you get through the first hour or two of shooting the breeze and just generally catching up on each other’s lives, the trail has a way of bringing about deeper conversations about who we are and what we dream about for our lives. That’s where you get to know each other. The trail has heard many secrets and creates an atmosphere that feels safe to share them. What would you share with the wilderness that you couldn’t — or wouldn’t — share elsewhere?

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” — John Muir

By |July 21st, 2017|

About the Author:

Kristen Czaban joined The Sheridan Press staff in 2008 and covered beats including local government, cops and courts and the energy industry. In 2012, she was promoted and now serves as the managing editor for The Press. Czaban has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.