Here in these mountains (see photo above), it is so quiet that everything becomes a metaphor for everything else.
Although marked trails and destinations may be known, as it were, just wandering about off-trail happens by itself, there being no need to get anywhere in particular.
Sometimes, when just bushwhacking in a remote canyon, one comes upon traces of an ancient trail. An occasional cairn is so old that its upper stone is welded by grey-green lichen to the lower and is virtually unrecognizable. Yet others have passed here before. An abandoned fire ring with responsibly dowsed coals, a decaying wooden box dangling from a rusty vertical pole, these things appear here and there among the much more recent evidence of deer, their trails often luring one away from the already unbeaten path.
Discerning the old trail requires leaving off any attempt to focus on clues or signs. Even the map is useless, indicating only broad contours and peaks. Rather, the only way to follow this often invisible thread is to open completely and let oneself be drawn. It is only by sensing, letting the eyes soften and attuning to a subtlety that seems beyond ordinary seeing, that the unseen filament unfolds, sometimes into a clear path, then receding back into grasses and shrubbery.
Not the trail or the not-trail, but the awareness it so magnificently illuminates, is represented by all that appears — as body sensing hiking gives way to sensing beyond even the body to reveal the body of Being sensing itself.