Went hiking up north over the weekend. It was, as usual, a great experience with lots of good pictures.
When I hike alone, I tend to phase out. Thoughts envelop me as my feet find the way themselves. Sometimes I reach an almost meditative state, unaware of my the panoramic surroundings that I traveled hours to find. I'll stumble on a rock and snap out of my trance, blinking and trying to judge how far I've walked since my last conscious moment.
However, the experience always turns out enjoyable and very spiritually fulfilling. While I'm sure my appreciation for my surroundings wains in this state, it does allow me to cover good distances. This time I hiked about 12 miles or so to the spring of a creek and beyond. When my breathing hinted at fatigue and my toes burned from stubbing every rock in the path, I decided to head back--the only way back was to retrace my steps. Going home, my feet find easier footings--no doubt eager to remove boots and rest--and the down-hill trail pulls me along. The way back is always faster, not in time or distance, but in perception.