Trail Magic

by Mark Miles

July’s hike at Occoneechee Mountain was less exciting than usual because I arrived late and had to rush through the trail before sunset. Still there were some magical views as always.

At the crest of one of the first hills, I noticed how the trees at either side of the trail framed the scene as if I was walking through a doorway, perhaps even a magical one. It seemed appropriate since I always feel as if I’m entering a realm beyond the ordinary whenever I go hiking.

For some reason I’m always attracted to sycamores (Platanus occidentalis). Perhaps it’s the distinctive green, grey, and white of their bark; perhaps it’s their penchant for residing in some of the least hospitable areas; perhaps it’s their furry seedpods which remind me of q-tips. Whatever the reason, I find myself drawn to them without fail, as if by enchantment. This young sycamore had some very distinctive lichens too, one of which was a Physcia from what I could tell. Staring at it from below, I realized that a change in perspective can occasionally work wonders.

Not far from the end of the trail I turned around and noticed the sun piercing the canopy to the west. The gentle undulation of the trail provided the perfect counterpoint to the rigid vertical lines of the surrounding trees. It reminded me that magic has less to do with the supernatural than it does with a willingness to explore and appreciate the world around us.

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21 thoughts on “Trail Magic

  1. whimsicalmoonherbfarm August 31, 2016 / 10:30 am

    I enjoy your ‘magical’ perspective while experiencing your part of the world. Your photos are intriguing and beautiful.

    • Mark Miles September 5, 2016 / 3:03 am

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that.

  2. foothillbilly August 31, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    This is a nice trail, and you captured it well in both pictures and words. I agree about the magical doorway. A healthy woods is a different realm.

    Thank you for liking my post in Incidents and Accidents.

    • Mark Miles September 5, 2016 / 3:06 am

      Thank you very much. I appreciate your kind words.

  3. Heather Butterick August 31, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    My favorite part about hiking is the feeling of being in a while new world. Even walking the same trail leads to different adventures every time.

    • Mark Miles September 5, 2016 / 3:07 am

      Very true! I’m persistently amazed by the cycles of change and renewal in the natural world.

  4. Browsing the Atlas September 2, 2016 / 11:37 am

    Your pictures are so inviting. I feel like I want to run down that trail, too!

    • Mark Miles September 5, 2016 / 3:09 am

      Haha, thank you! Forests are some of the most inviting places out there in my experience.

  5. savisena September 3, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Magical and supernatral with your words Mark! 🌳🌳🍃🍀
    Have a good weekend dear!

    • Mark Miles September 5, 2016 / 3:10 am

      Thank you, Savi! Glad you like! Have a wonderful upcoming week, my friend! ⛅🌲😁👌

  6. manystepsmakemountains September 16, 2016 / 1:17 pm

    “It reminded me that magic has less to do with the supernatural than it does with a willingness to explore and appreciate the world around us.”

    Agreed! Just need to get up and go and take it all in!

    • Mark Miles September 19, 2016 / 3:23 am

      Absolutely right! Magic happens when we make it happen.

  7. elizabeth September 22, 2016 / 6:01 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

  8. pennsweetly October 2, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    Hikes are always magical. Time enough to enjoy the journey is less. Alas. Modern life. Loved this!!!

  9. Abhijeet Deshpande March 12, 2017 / 5:55 am

    Beautifully written, loved the concluding observation – ‘magic has less to do with the supernatural than it does with a willingness to explore and appreciate the world around us’.

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