Backpacking usually involves walking as fast as is sustainable to a campsite, putting up the tent, cooking the dinner, and going to bed. Repeat the next day.

But sometimes it’s different. Recently, following a skiing accident in February, I was warned by my arthropod not to do any vertical hiking. Rather than joining my wife on her hejira to Black And White Lakes, I simply walked another four miles up the trail (very level). As I walked very slowly, stopping regularly to take in the forest, my awareness transformed. After about twenty minutes I felt like I was stoned. After forty, like I was tripping. After an hour, I became part of the forest.

Rivulets excited me and got my heart pumping. The breezes freshened my soul. The rock under my feet felt like divine support. The trees came alive and began to speak.

Rivulets, streams, and rivers are the circulatory system of the forest. Breeze and wind are its breath. Rock is the foundation of it all. My body was linking up with the forest, like a bird released into the wild. The forest dynamics at work that I saw, heard, felt, and inhaled blended with—became—my body. I was one with the forest. Movement seemed a violation.

I encourage everyone to do this. You will understand why so many of us are vehemently protective of nature. You will discover the wisdom of those who were at one with the environment before we came and trashed it all. It will nourish your soul.

Wilderness tripping is transformative and legal!

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