Friday, May 29, 2009

Hiking on the prairie

I have recently been doing a lot of my hiking on the prairies. Most of my hikes have taken place in the mountains, but this year has led me to the open and vast prairies. Maybe I have headed to the prairies because the mountains are not quite open due to late snowfall, or maybe I have gone to the prairies because I miss being there.

I grew up on the prairie and often found myself wishing to be in the mountains. Now that I live in the mountains, I find myself longing for the distant horizons and open plains. Can you have both at the same time?

Hiking on the prairies my mind wanders and drifts to times in the past. I think about the people who settled in the areas and why they chose to stay. I wonder about who they were and why did they leave the East to come to the West. Being at a distance from family, but not so far I could not see them within a days drive, I wonder how they- the pioneers- felt leaving and knowing they may never see or hear from family again.

The journey was rough too- hot weather, no trees for shade, little water, sickness and death. So, why did they stay on the prairie? Why not go ahead and make the journey to the mountains?

Maybe they ran out of energy. Maybe they just couldn't take any more travel. Maybe they ran out of supplies.

Maybe they fell in love with the land and couldn't leave.

Whatever the case may be, I know I too fell in love with the land and love to return and explore where my mind can wander without inhibition just as the prairies expand far out on distant horizons.