Last week I hiked Greyrock Trail in Poudre Canyon. As my time limit for turning and heading back out approached, I smiled at how my healthy curiosity kept pulling me forward. Soon I’d head back down hill. But the trail curves just ahead and I want to see the vista I sense just around the shoulder of this hill.

As I climb, I can hear the trickle of the stream I’m paralleling on my left. Perhaps the trail will turn and provide another boulder to sit on while I drink from my water bottle.

Sometimes the way is tough to discern – look for rocks set slightly lower than the surrounding rocks. Or it may be dirt, but between overgrowth that makes a tunnel over my head. What will I see when this vegetation ends?

The trail opens out into a view of hillside in the morning sun, with shaded ranges into the distant mountains. I scan for wildlife and see only butterflies. I can hear mountain bluejays, but they must be watching my progress from the densest branches.

I ponder how sometimes I’m so head-down in my creating that I can’t see the bigger picture in that moment, yet I still track how this word, this task connects seamlessly as part of the outcome I’ve envisioned.

Returning my attention to the trail, I put one foot in front of (and above) the other to ascend the next  steep segment.

The trail is not my Path. My Path is my experience of the trail.

The trail is public, shared.

My Path is mine alone.

The curiosity that pulls me forward around the next bend. The intention to move and explore. The adventure and discovery along the way, both external and internal.

The Trail Is Not the Path