|On the last day of my trip across the country I was on a quiet walk through a cedar forest in Oregon. The sky was blue, the forest green and it was flat out wonderful.
Suddenly I found myself walking a little slower and savoring the moment. It's one of those things that often happens when I find myself at the end of a trip. There's always a certain sadness that a great adventure is coming to an end, but the sadness is usually overshadowed by the wonder I feel when I think back on all that I saw and experienced.
In the case of this particular trip I can only shake my head in amazement. It's hard for me to comprehend that I've been fortunate enough to have had such an opportunity.
I've seen the amazing sights and diversity of the American landscape and I've not only had my own small, little adventures but I've learned about the adventures and experiences of larger than life people from our history--Lewis & Clark, Sacagawea, George Custer, the various Indian tribes struggling for their very survival and way of life and, even in the modern day, the heroic Forest Service firefighters who died in Mann Gulch, MT in 1949.
To hear their stories and, in some cases, to see the exact things they saw is inspiring. For me, that inspiration is the very essence of traveling.
It was not at all planned but it seems fitting to start my journey home today, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, full of wonder for the beauty of this country and for the many heroic people that came before us and live among us still.