Off The Trail

“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.”

Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

I am starting this post with the often quoted lines of Robert Frost.
These lines came to mind while I was planning my backpacking trip from my previous post.
As I researched the areas and trails that I wish to explore I came to realize that hiking the trails was not what I wished to do. I wished to explore the forest.
While this may sound like the same thing there are many glaring differences.
The first difference arose when I found out how my travelling companion is viewed. As I wrote, this is to be a journey of me and my dog, Lily. Lily is not an add on to the trip. She is part of the trip.
However I have discovered that trail hiking has a phrase called “dog friendly”. This means these prepared paths through the forest may, or may not allow dogs. And most of the ones that do allow dogs require the dogs be leashed.
I do not mind putting a leash on Lily when there are other people around who might be bothered or dangerous situations she might get into, such as highways. But when I am truly in the forest Lily is not an animal added on to me to be tethered by a strap. She is my companion. In this she should be free to enjoy the forest in her way as much as I am. For her, this includes being unleashed to explore the smells and sights beyond the length of a leash.
As I contemplated this situation something else occurred to me. And it had to do with the road “less traveled by”. I realized I didn’t want to take the road less traveled by. I don’t want to take “the road” at all. I have taken roads, paths and trails all my life. I want to wander the forest. Not just the parts that someone else has decided should be traveled by.
So my journey will not be by the North Country Trail or any trail except that which my feet make.
While I may start on a trail leading from the place I will be required to park my car I will soon depart the trail and travel the forest.
I believe this shall make “all the difference”.