Why the summit?

Why do the trails always lead to the summit? IMG_3955 IMG_3935a
True, you can see some nice views from high up. This is from the western side of Mt. Graylock in western Massachusetts, where the Appalachian Trial passes through the state.
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Trails in this state park are “moderate”, “strenuous” and “aggressive”. Of course, the one I picked had to say “aggressive” at the trailhead once I got there.  “An hour and a half up and one hour down”, said some hikers who were just leaving as I arrived. The trail looked like it was pretty much straight up. Forty minutes into the hike, I decided I wasn’t sure I wanted an “aggressive” trail. I took my pulse by my cell phone clock, wondering if I should continue, then took it again 5 minutes later. Was I in good enough shape for this?

And why the summit? I have been to the summit of what, Mt. Snowden, Harney Peak, ..there must have been others. Did I have a numinous experience? Was I a better person for having been on the summit? Did I really need to do it again? No, it was a letdown, an artificial goal, a non-experience. Like everything else, the fun was in the journey, not the destination. Feeling like one of Kipling’s characters from Kim, searching for enlightenment, I began the descent and immediately started to enjoy myself.

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