The Hike

Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Less Travelled” challenged us to think about where we are going in life, and how we want to get there.  Sometimes the best road isn’t the straightest, or easiest, or most popular.  Sometimes it is when we dare to step of the well worn path, and take the path that fewer have walked, that we are rewarded with the stuff that feeds our spirits and makes us feel like we are truly living.

Today I stepped off the roadways of Newfoundland and onto one of its most famous trails.  I’m not sure I would call it a “road less travelled” as hundreds of people trek along its winding paths every year, but it was so unique and challenging, no one would ever classify it as ordinary.  Called the Skerwink Trail, it started easy enough as a dirt road through the forest.  One could almost be lulled into the idea that this would be a simple enough hike. 45 minutes and home for supper!! 

Nearly two hours after embarking on it, I got to the end, my body exhausted, but my senses engaged and my spirit energized. 

The trail, which is ranked as one of the top five most beautiful hiking trails in North America, is 5 kms of sheer wonder.  Hugging the cliffs that tower over the crashing surf on the Bonavista peninsula, it is not for the faint of heart.  Disaster is one mis-step away.  There are no railings or walls protecting the overly curious adventurer from being, well, overly curious.  The reward for embarking on this journey, was reaching the top of the cliffs, and looking out on the limitless expanse of ocean.  AND there was a bonus reward.  Two boats below alerted the attention of those of us at the peak to the possibility of a whale in the area. Sure enough, up came a spout of water followed by the flick of a black tale, as a great beast crested the surface of the ocean, before diving back down to its depths.  Awesome!!

Robert Frost ends his poem with these words

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

This adventure in Newfoundland has taught me a lot.  I am discovering not only a lot about this province but a lot about myself.  I have had a choice in life between taking the path that is well worn, predictable and safe, and a path that is more of a gamble.  We all have.  We all know what it is like to stand at the fork of two roads gazing down both, perhaps wondering what lies behind the brambles of the path that that is overgrown, but deciding in the end that the well worn road is the most reasonable or responsible.   

One thing this journey is teaching me is that it is okay sometimes to take the path that is unknown and undiscovered.  There is something within us all that needs the challenge of the road less travelled.  Those roads are not easy to take.  Its easier to cruise on the open highways of the familiar than tread the rocky, muddy trails of the undiscovered and undisturbed. 

I’m truly grateful for this opportunity today to experience ever widening expressions of beauty in this amazing province. And I’m grateful for the humble reminder that there are rewards to be had when you dare to take the road less travelled.