Do you follow a map, or just get out and walk the trails?
That was one of the questions at a live Twitter chat for outdoors enthusiasts that I sat in on last week. My answer:
Yeah, oddly, I can make far more sense of a map after I’ve walked the trails. Before that, they’re pretty much just meaningless squiggles on a page.
Some people are micro-planners. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, it would be kind of nice to know, when you walk out your front door, when on earth you’ll be home again.
But that’s definitely not me. I create rough, general, vague plans. That way there’s plenty of room for impromptu improvements. Otherwise, we could be missing out on all the greatest stuff, and never know it. Like one of the coolest photo ops I’ve had so far this spring:
Trust me, the dead log hanging over the river wasn’t marked on the map.
Maybe that’s why Molly and I are such great hiking partners. If I was a micro-planner, I think we’d be at odds a lot. After all, have you ever met a dog who had her route planned from beginning to end before heading out the door? Nah, me neither. They just follow their nose. One interesting scent to the next.
I love that spirit of freedom she has when she’s out exploring. That “Oh, I wonder what’s over here?” It inspires me. I want to copy it. I let the landscape shape my route. And my dog. I trust they have things to show me I never would have discovered on my own.