Amazing book of “Trail Quotes” to feed your walking love
While I miss the satisfaction of stumbling upon a wonderful, previously-unknown-to-me book in an in-the-flesh book store, the internet allows for serendipity as well; a recent tumble down some kind of research rabbit hole led me to an absolute gem of a PDF book titled Trail Quotes : from Advocacy to Wilderness, a mind-boggling (232 pages) collection of wild, wise words (over 1,000 “trail-related” quotes) collected over many years by Jim Schmid, State Trails Coordinator, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and offered to the public in 2001.
Some of the 48 categories Schmid includes . . . Advocacy, Humor, Long Distance Trails, Native American, Outdoor Ethics, Rivers, Safety, Songs, Walkable Communities . . . all the way through the alphabet to Wilderness.
I have had, and continue to have, such fun electronically flipping my way through the pages and getting inspired by so many different aspects of being outside on the trail.
Here’s a teeny sampling of words from the 18th-20th centuries from the 14-page section “Walking”: (interspersed with photos of recent adventures on the trails near Irvine Park outside my hometown of Orange, CA)
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. When body and mind are out of gear (and those twin parts of me live at such close quarters that the one always catches melancholy from the other) I know that I shall have only to call in my doctors and I shall be well again. —GEORGE MACAULAY TREVELYAN, Walking, essay in The Art of Walking, edited by Edwin Valentine Mitchell, 1934
Never did I think so much, exist so much, be myself so much as in the journeys I have made alone and on foot. Walking has something about it which animates and enlivens my ideas. I can hardly think while I am still; my body must be in motion to move my mind. —JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, French philosopher & writer, 1712–78
The art of walking is obsolete. It is true that a few still cling to that mode of locomotion, are still admired as fossil specimens of an extinct race of pedestrians, but for the majority of civilized humanity, walking is on its last legs. —SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, January 9, 1869
I find that the three truly great times for thinking thoughts are when I am standing in the shower, sitting on the john, or walking. And the greatest of these, by far, is walking. —COLIN FLETCHER, The New Complete Walker, 1974
It is great art to saunter. —HENRY DAVID THOREAU, American writer and naturalist, 1817–62
There are some good things to say about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and therefore more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me. That’s God’s job, not ours. The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t matter whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home. Right where you started. Which reminds me of circles. Which reminds me of wheels. Which reminds me my old truck needs another front-end job. Any good mechanics out there wandering through the smog? —EDWARD ABBEY, American environmental advocate, 1927–89
Walking is the exercise that needs no gym. It is the prescription without medicine, the weight control without diet, the cosmetic that is sold in no drugstore. It is the tranquilizer without a pill, the therapy without a psychoanalyst, the fountain of youth that is no legend. A walk is the vacation that does not cost a cent. —AARON SUSSMAN and RUTH GOODE, The Magic of Walking, 1967
It’s about as nice a thing as anybody can do—walking, and it’s cheap, too! —EMMA ‘GRANDMA’ GATEWOOD, at age 67 first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (1955), 1887–1973
Happy Trails! (Preferably barefoot . . .)