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toujours | 005 | wanderlust

I cannot explain the extreme quiet of the woods while walking alone through them; I cannot explain the constant myriad thoughts, the deepest breaths, the lyrics to every song you’ve ever known, sung. I cannot explain the moments of insane clarity, enough to make a man shout hooray at the instant downpour on top of a mountain. Nor can I explain that loneliness isn’t a bad word, not when you’re bandaging the inch-deep blisters on your heel, you look around, and a chipmunk sits with you fireside; you’re both eating nuts. It’s no cake walk, the trail; it’s fierce: beautiful but angry. It demands from you more than you expected to give it. But traveling for me has never been about relaxation. When I hear the word “vacation,” I begin to sweat. If I want it to count, I must recognize the dichotomy of life: it is bliss, and it is struggle; so too should be travel, so long as I’m alive while doing it. On the seventh day, Profsco rested. Her knees hobbled at the rough interchanges between dirt and stone, she laid down her walking stick, and for the first time, I was alone. I would spend the next 130 miles with the thud of only my two feet upon the trail, but there was so much life in the woods, it was hard to feel alone. I upped my ante: twenty-mile days; twenty-five. At the summit of Mount Cove, the sky opened; I had a rain shield for my pack, but I was waterlogged within seconds. I didn’t care. I found an overlook and shouted through the rain as loud as I could toward whatever valley I faced: a banshee hooray gargled through rain. The next hour would find me slipping down the slick rocks of Cove’s descent, purposefully falling backward so as to land on my pack, a method of protection known to hikers as “turtle-ing”; but on that wet promontory, my lungs pumped pure joy up at what the sky sent down.

Toujours Mag Issue 005  

Summer issue featuring entertaining advice by Lulu Powers, design from Emily Ruddo, art by Sasha Sullivan, interios from M Design and SFA De...