Posted by Ken Campbell February 14, 2010 0 Comment 891 views

Some of my favorite trips, my most interesting and valuable wilderness moments, have never happened. At least, they haven’t happened yet. I can think back on years, decades even, of backcountry adventures that never made it out of the planning stage, wild notions that never survived their first brush with reality.
“The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a-gley.” That’s how the poet, Robert Burns, put it. I can remember my father explaining the phrase to me when I was a boy… Plans fall apart. They go awry. The effort you put into something isn’t always rewarded. Things can go south in a hurry. They can go a-gley pretty quick, and they probably aren’t coming back.

I don’t know if I’ll ever kayak in Samoa. (That was one of the trips I put together in my head while I was still in the Air Force and could have flown there for free.)

I spent some time planning a mountain bike trip along the path of the Newfy Bullet, the old railbed that runs 600 miles, from one side of Newfoundland to the other. Looking back on it, I should have built that time into one of the trips I made to St. John’s, but there were always other things that came up.

I’d like to hike the John Muir Trail. My first alpine backpacking experience was in the Sierras, on a week-long loop not far from Bishop. My memories of the trip are spotty, but I can still see the snow flurries in July, smell the fresh trout frying in the pan. I went backpacking other places after this particular trip, and I’ve always thought I’d like to do the Pacific Crest Trail. The John Muir Trail would be an excellent PCT in microcosm, but I never got around to it. I have the book though, and the maps…

Coulda, shouda, woulda. Some trips are destined to stay in the mind.

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