The Journey Begins Where the Trail Fades

We walk in nature to immerse ourselves in the raw purity of the natural world hoping to regenerate the balance of body, mind and soul

MAD Hippies’ Life

As we near our 40 year mark, we wanted to define just what MAD Hippies’ Life is. Certainly we have grown and matured throughout our lives together and wanted to clarify where we are, who we are, what we do and why we do it. There can be no doubt we love hiking, backpacking and spending quality time in the Colorado backcountry. Over the course of 40 years, we have logged countless miles in the outdoors. But, the question begs to be asked, why do you do it? Why would you put yourselves out there in the elements, climbing one, two and even three thousand feet to get up and over a mountain pass only to keep hiking and do it all over again the next day? The answer might surprise you.

At the end of the day, we are just like everyone else, as we like to call ourselves, we’re freaks just trying to figure out life. Sure, every now and again it all seems great, after all, life can be amazing, and is. But, if we are all honest with ourselves and each other, we also know life can be difficult, depressing and challenging in many respects. It can seem that something is just out of place and we are all being affected by it. Each one of us fights something, if not on one front, many. If you have been following along for any length of time you will know, we are no strangers to difficulties that can strain every aspect of our mental faculties.

Left to our own, both of us would be lost in our own passions. Together, however, we challenge each other’s strengths and weaknesses bringing about a more balanced approach and understanding of our goals, desires and path in life. A slow and methodical walk, but we are getting there, all be it one step at a time. The key for us, we are doing it together. It has been said many times, two heads are better than one, and that may be true, as long as those two are in sync with one another and not trying to go on their own way.

Okay, so what does all this have to do with hiking and backpacking? The short answer, it is our way of healing. We walk in nature to immerse ourselves in the raw purity of the natural world hoping to regenerate the balance of body, mind and soul. And yes, exploring the incredible beauty of the Colorado backcountry is a wonderful benefit, too. It does wonders to the imagination, challenges us both physically and mentally and most importantly has such a tremendous impact on us in ways almost too difficult to put into words.

We love to get “out there” and see it for what it is, as the Wilderness Act of 1964 defines it, “land retaining its primeval character and influence,” “appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature” and “has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.” It is, for us, the last frontier, void of technology, politics and malice. We are not necessarily running away, we are just looking to deflate and purge ourselves from the day in – day out stress of modern society. It is, for us, a meditative walk. With nothing but miles before us, our minds spill out and our thoughts are contemplated thoroughly with each passing mile, over each mountain pass and across each wilderness passage.

We are certainly not looking to get strokes on how far we go, how high we climb or the conditions for which we find ourselves in. We do, however, like to encourage people to get out there and explore themselves, to stay active and lead healthy lifestyles both physically and mentally. We are not hiking commercials for our gear, though we will tell you what works for us. We are not gear junkies, we research deeply what would fit our needs, make purchases with our own money and use them until they need to be replaced, at which point the process starts all over again as most of our gear becomes outdated by the time we do replace it. We stand firmly behind one simple fact, gear is personal, what works for one might not work for another.

We are most assuredly explorers. Perhaps not in the way one might think, as ours is not to just hike to hike or to say we did it. Granted there is room for accomplishment, who wouldn’t be proud of overcoming such feats such as a 500 mile thru hike of the Colorado Trail. But, more than that, the lessons learned, the relationships gained and the physical challenge of it all are far more desired than saying “we did it.” The CT was far more than we anticipated. We thought we were going to get away and be to ourselves for a while, but that isn’t what happened, though we did enjoy plenty of solitude for days at a time. No, we found that there are other like-minded people walking the trail too. People we proudly called our tramily (trail family) and helped remind us that there are indeed good people still in this world.

The further we walk, the deeper we go and the more demanding the path is, we are reminded of the fact that we are indeed explorers of our own fragile humanity and what life truly means. Staying constantly busy and ignoring our own thoughts is a dangerous habit. Removing ourselves from our distractions reminds us to look inward and allow ourselves to be honest with who we are and have become. Putting oneself in an organic environment has a way of stripping away the layers and revealing the humble person inside. Vulnerable to the elements we are humbled as our fears encroach upon us. Our relationships become strength. Love, sympathy and true concern for one another becomes our binding passion.

One step at a time, we walk into the unknown. We begin to listen, heal and ponder what is ahead. The trail, in a sense, begins to fade and the real journey exposes itself as an open primal land with many experiences, memories and relationships waiting to unfold. We brush off the toxic dust and are re-energized to continue on life’s path.




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