Monday Musings: I am a Recovering Trail Snob

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that snobbery runs deep in my core as it relates to coffee, chocolate, base layers, running shoes, ice cream, wine, and books.  Notice what’s missing there? Trail snobbery. Yes, it’s true, I have kicked the trail snobbery habit. All it took was three months and I’m proud to say that life isn’t so bad on the other side.

Let me start by defining trail snobbery: a willful and condescending abhorrence of any trail that is deemed ‘too short’, ‘too easy’, ‘too busy’ or ‘too main stream’ to be considered remotely worthwhile, and even the mere discussion of such trails elicits strong reactions such as snorts, eye rolls and an holier-than-thou judgement. 

All that’s fine and dandy when you’re body is functioning well, but throw an injury into the mix and it’s not so easy to get all fussed about how many kilometers you’re logging or what kind of elevation you’re gaining. And when you have to let go of distance and steepness, it suddenly becomes less inviting to drive long distances to remote trails.  After all, why drive for an hour or two just to hike a 5-10 km trail? It’s just not worth it when there’s closer options. Just like that, shorter more accessible trails become the obvious option.

What more surprising, though, is that when I let go of my snobbish needs to find rare and wondrous and heinously long/steep trails I discovered that I’d been dismissing perfectly nice trails for no good reason at all. In fact, I’ve discovered all sorts of small pockets of beauty, all on trails I would have turned my nose up at last year for not being ‘hard core’ enough.

With an open mind and my only focus being to get outside and enjoy some nature (especially after two solid months of relative inactivity), I have discovered that my snobbery was causing unnecessarily critical judgments. Really, trails of all shapes and sizes can be beautiful. Also, I’m not tuckered out by 8 o’clock because I’ve spent the whole day driving, then climbing thousands of meters over 30+ kilometers. It’s really a win-win. All of it sort of makes me wonder if I should be less of a snob with coffee or chocolate…but then I realize that’s just crazy talk.

Instead, let me present you with a few gems from my recent hiking adventures, none of which were up to my old standards, but all of which were pretty damn beautiful in their own way.

En Route to Alder Flats...a mere 12 km return with only 400 m elevation gain.
En Route to Alder Flats…a mere 12 km return with only 400 m elevation gain.
Mount Galiano, only 5 km return and maybe 250 m elevation.
Mount Galiano, only 5 km return and maybe 250 m elevation.
Cascade Pass. 15 km return (to go slightly up the sahale arm) and 600 m elevation gain.
Cascade Pass. 15 km return (to go slightly up the sahale arm) and 600 m elevation gain.
Oyster Dome: Only 8km return and 570 m elevation gain.
Oyster Dome: Only 8km return and 570 m elevation gain.

Beauty. Everywhere.

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