I caught a glimpse of the descending trail heading down from the summit of Looking Glass Falls and it stopped me in my tracks.
The footpath twisted back and forth across the mountain just wide enough for one person to walk, the surrounding space condense with foliage. Wiry winter trees towered over shrubbery still clinging to life before our first inevitable ice.
Crisp leaves blanketed the ground in different shades of brown, and early evening December light turned the atmosphere into aquatic shades of green, blue and purple.
The view was from a storybook, a stunning reminder of my small participation in the vastness around me.
I do that sometimes. Hike alone.
My family doesn’t like it, of course. What if I break an ankle? Or someone attacks me?!? OR I SEE A BEAR?!?!!
The first time I hiked alone in these forests I carried a knife. The knife was about two inches long and it was a going away gift from my boss the summer after I lived in San Francisco. The knife has my full name carefully scripted on one side of its blade.
I carried that thing in my hand, ready for two inch battle, for the first 15 minutes of that solo hike. Then I realized that literally nothing was going to be fought off with a two-inch pocket knife. Annoy someone? Sure. Fight and win a battle? I think not.
The best tool I had was speed which meant I was destined to be utterly screwed in every imaginable scenario. So I worked hard to relax my shoulders and focus on the perfect weather. I eventually talked myself off the ledge and looked up.
I almost didn’t recognize silence.
John Muir once said “wilderness is a great mistress.”
Do I want to live in the woods alone with Mother Nature? No I do not. I want to use a straightener and take a hot shower and eat M&Ms in my bed if I feel so inclined.
But is detaching from our connections and everyday reality important?
I think so.
In the news recently there was hype around a young Australian Instagram model, Essena O’Neill, denouncing social media.
She called Instagram “fake”, saying it made her “miserable”. After I heard her perspective and circumstances, I started to question literally everything. Is this whole thing a charade? Is Instagram a horrible take on reality?
I eventually settled on no. Instagram is technology, a tool humans have access to.
Thanks to social media we are gifted with the opportunity to easily connect with millions of people around the world with the click of a single button.
Why are you and I here in this very moment?
BANGS Shoes is working every single day to bring together positive, adventurous people with our simple, classic shoes. Fortunately we have access to powerful online tools, a contributing factor to our mission’s growth.
How we use these tools is up to us.
I’ve found it’s a process, figuring out how to use Adventures for good. Whether it’s on Instagram or in business or with friends and family.
All I know is that the journey is never really complete so I want to keep working on it, actively choosing to use the tools we have for good.
So onward we move. And we continue working to use our adventures to help others find theirs.
Until next time,