This Saturday is National Trails Day®! Whenever I think about hiking on one of the over 200,000 miles of trails we have in the U.S., the lyrics of one of my favorite Ani DiFranco songs pop into my head:
When I look down I just miss all the good stuff
When I look up, I just trip over things.
These words lead me to recall some of my favorite adventures along the many miles of trails I have hiked over the years. They also remind me of the many benefits trails have to offer us:
- Trails bring us through many of the most beautiful places this country has to offer. Whether you are hiking though a redwood forest, walking along the side of a creek, making your way across a meadow or backpacking to a mountain lake, the trail you take to get there takes you on an amazing journey. Some of my favorite hiking trails took me through pine forests, around rock outcrops and to meadows of wildflowers all within a few miles of one another, opening my eyes to the diversity of our natural environment.
- Trails expose us to the elusive wild creatures we might otherwise never see. How many times have you been walking along and seen something scurry onto a trail? I always love when a beetle or millipede wanders across my path. It makes me slow down, observe and wonder, and reminds me to respect the other creatures sharing this space with me.
- People are always so friendly on trails! I try to make it a point to acknowledge and say hi to people as I pass them on a trail, and I find that others do the same. When I was hiking the John Muir Trail to Mt. Whitney, everyone was so incredibly friendly. They stopped and talked with us, asked where we were going, shared experiences of their journey and wished us happy hiking. Trails make people happy!
These trails are only here for us to explore because of dedicated volunteers and park staff who work to maintain them. So get outside tomorrow for National Trails Day®, and help make sure our trails stay available for all to enjoy. Find a trail event near you or find a great redwood trail with the League’s interactive Redwoods Map.
Where ever your trail adventures take you, remember to take a moment to appreciate all the benefits these trails provide for us.