Walking Far From Home

I was walking far from home
Where the names were not burned along the wall
Saw a building high as heaven
But the door was so small, door was so small
I saw rainclouds, little babies
And a bridge that had tumbled to the ground
I saw sinners making music
I’ve dreamt of that sound, dreamt of that sound

– Iron & Wine, Walking Far From Home”, 2011

Now that we’re over 100 posts into this blog, it should be pretty obvious that music is a huge part of my life.  As mentioned very early on, your trusty Craven Hermit is also an admirer of the great outdoors.  In particular, I love to experience nature from ground level, on foot.  My shadow has been cast across virtually every walking trail in my home town, while my iPod has provided an ever-evolving soundtrack.

From time to time, I get the itch to reacquaint myself with nature by doing some proper wilderness hikes.  Each summer I cram my tent, some bedding, some cooking implements, a duffel bag of clothes, a couple of good books and a picnic cooler into the car and head for the mountains. The glorious Canadian Rockies are only a four-and-a-half hour drive away, which makes those glaciated peaks and forested valleys an ideal destination for an extended weekend sojourn.

I just got back from four days at Lake Louise.  The campsites in the Lake Louise tent campground, while a little on the pricey side, are still as amenable as ever.  They provide a nice balance of privacy with convenience, shelter with natural light.  You can even take a hot shower after a long day on the trail, which might be one of life’s greatest simple pleasures.

A typical day in the mountains begins with a hot al fresco breakfast, followed by a hike to the verge of exhaustion, a shower and a change of clothes, a delicious barbeque dinner, and some drinks around the campfire.  Plugging in your iPod, settling into a comfortable chair with a mug of rye & coke (okay, okay, I can hear my friends snickering… make that several mugs of rye & coke), and watching some flickering flames burn down into glowing embers is a perfect way to unwind.  Campfires give you some well-earned downtime to take stock of your life – a chance to reflect on the previous year and make plans for the next.  There’s something very hypnotic, very alluring, and very Zen about watching wood slowly combust before your eyes.

I managed to squeeze four hikes of various lengths and complexities into this past four-day weekend.  Over the next few days, check back here for new posts with photos and reflections on what I observed while walking far from home.

Hold your fire
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame till the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission

– Rush, “Mission”, 1987

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