Backyard Cathedrals

I wandered away from blogging, for a variety of reasons, but I enjoy following other people’s stories, and I’d like to try again, from time to time, to share mine. While I’m hesitant to introduce the world to yet-another-hiking-blog, most of my wandering of late has been in boots outdoors, so many of my stories will be inspired by those travels.

Today’s story is about a spot of ground on a short stretch in a tiny slice of a 2,190 mile long trail (which, to date, I have now traveled just shy of 1% of.) The view that opens up from this tiny place is so spectacular that it has a name, Rand’s View, and it shows up as a point on Appalachian Trail maps. Rand’s View, named after the family that once owned a farm on this land, can be found on the Appalachian Trail in Falls Village, Connecticut. I don’t need words to explain why it is said to be the best view on the AT in CT.

The AT blazes through the Berkshire Mountains seen from Rand’s View, including the rounded summit of Mount Everett and Jug End, the sharply rising trapezoidal mountain due North of this photographer.

The word “awesome” has all but lost its meaning today, but what I felt upon emerging from the woods into this view was overwhelming awe, and gratitude for the existence of such a place in an increasingly congested State. I was reminded of what Theodore Roosevelt said of camping in Yosemite National Park:

“It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.”

Nature’s cathedrals can be found in our National Parks to be sure, as I’ve experienced numerous times, but I also love discovering its sanctuaries in my own backyard. This one is a 40-minute drive from my town and a 2-hour hike in from the trailhead I chose. Nonetheless, I don’t take my ability to hike these miles for granted, and I’m happy to note that a nearby point in Falls Village is home to one of a handful of wheelchair-accessible sections of the Appalachian Trail. I hope that sets a trend that will continue, to allow as many people as possible to experience the perspective, and the grounding, that these places provide.

17 thoughts on “Backyard Cathedrals

  1. Thanks for sharing your photos and experience with us. So magnificent. Nature’s cathedrals are the most holy to me of all. Welcome back to blogging! I look forward to more of your hiking adventures. 😊

  2. Hi Faith – I’m visiting via your dad’s blog.

    I too loved this post and envy your proximity to the Appalachian Trail. The description that hiking is like entering nature’s cathedral is so accurate … the peace, the calm, the sheer joy – all describe the feeling of being out in nature’s wonder.

    … and you’re so right. It’s so much easier to breathe out in nature. The air smells and tastes different. I love it ❤

    1. Thanks Joanne! I do feel fortunate to be able to take little bits of the Appalachian Trail in at a time. I can’t take credit for the description that hiking is like nature’s cathedral, but it’s a quote that has stuck with me. I’m glad you can relate to it.

  3. I can relate to the outdoors as a cathedral. My own experiences of growing up with the vast blue Pacific as my morning worship was really noticed when I moved to Oregon, and after a year drove to an Oregon beach. I wept at seeing her. She feels like a huge emotional mother body — that is the only way I can relate — and I cherish the lifetime I have of immersing myself in her waters.

    1. I’ve only spent a few days of my life near the Pacific, but I remember how beautiful it is. The coastline of Oregon was particularly moving the first time I saw it. I can relate to the feeling you describe and I have places that make me feel the same way.

  4. I’m here from your dad’s blog, too, and glad I stopped by. I find nature to be centering for me and “awe” a word, in it’s true sense, that aptly describes nature on both the large and macro scales. Lovely post.


  5. Hi Faith,

    I’m here from Dad’s blog too. I love that top image. What a vista!

    I totally get what Roosevelt was saying. I find that to true with me as well.

    I’ve had a map & compass navigation class on my “bucket list” for several years but haven’t pursued it since I stay on the well marked trails these days.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures and seeing your images.

  6. Hi, Faith! Welcome back! I saw your post on your Dad’s blog so I came on over. Gorgeous pictures all leaving me wishing I were standing in your boots. Thank you for sharing these incredible images. Nature is my Church so naturally I agree about the Cathedrals. 🙂 ❤

  7. Woah! The view is fantastic. I’ve always envied East coast people for the AT. Your photos are gorgeous. Have you read the book A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson? His adventures on the AT are hilarious but also extraordinary moving since they illustrate the changes in our land. Happy trails to you!

  8. I remember meeting you awhile back, Faith. I enjoyed the views through your camera lens before. Today, I loved the exciting rushing of water, a photo which vibrates and resonates with me.
    I have three children who like to start projects with intentions and then, “life gets in their way!” 😉
    Welcome back, Faith! Smiles, Robin

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