Members of the Civilian Conservation Corps help construct the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park (Image from the National Park Service's online pamphlet, "Highways in Harmony: The Skyline Drive")
This evening I typed the word “trail” into my computer and cranked up the electro-whiz-bang thesaurus. Soon thereafter that rare breed of ancient reptile vomited, ahem, “path, track, way, road, footpath, route, footprints, footsteps, trace, imprints, marks, trajectory, stream, and line” and so on. Why, you ask, was I looking for synonyms of said term? To make you ask questions.
Okay, that and because I was looking for inspiration. How should I start my blog entry on the subject of trails in
A pilgrim is defined as a religious devotee who travels to a shrine or holy place, a traveler who is attempting to fulfill some sacred quest. Their quests draw meaning from two different elements. On the one hand, a pilgrim seeks to arrive at a destination, a place that holds intrinsic symbolic value. On the other hand, a point often forgotten these days, the process of moving from one’s home to his destination carries value in and of itself. Ideally, the process of moving from point A to point B (often interspersed by a series of holy places) is a mystical process, a symbolic progression from normality to, well, something special, something different. After traveling down the trail of a pilgrimage, a pilgrim is meant to be transformed – he or she is reborn, metaphorically or literally. In pilgrimages, our homes are the wombs, and the trails, well, they are our birth canals, squeezing and pushing us until suddenly we have the ability to take the free air at our destination.
All of that said,
I want to bring a few of these trails to your attention, and I have a couple of motives. Sure, I think they’re interesting. And yes, I want to encourage tourism in
Update! (Thanks to Mike Mason) Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers
The Blue Ridge Music TrailThe
Blue Ridge Parkway Guide
The Coal Heritage Trail
The Crooked Road
The Hatfield & McCoy Trails
The New River Trail
The Midland Trail
Skyline DriveMile by Mile
The National Park Service's "Highways in Harmony: The Skyline Drive"
Skyline Drive Historic District
The Trail of Tears
Washington Heritage Trail