Trails are largely experienced from two approaches: forward and reverse. Sure, differences in height can result in slight differences in how they are experienced, but those differences are minimal.

Hiking around Fern Lake.

Yet, these perspectives are complicated by each viewer’s past. Every sight they’ve seen, every noise they’ve heard, every smell they’ve smelled, and every thing they have felt affects how they presently see, hear, smell, and feel.

Alexa, a high school friend, and I hiking along Cub Lake Trail.

And beyond the viewer, the environment around them is constantly changing. Trails become worn and repaired. Dawn turns into midday, dusk, and night. Sun turns into clouds, rain, and storms. Rivers swell and shrink. Elk compete, mate, reproduce, and die. Birds migrate lower and more south.

Thus, these two approaches multiply to form multitudes. No two viewers experience the same trail, and there is great beauty in that. Rocky belongs to all of us, but a different Rocky belongs to each one of us.

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