An Easy Way to Ruin a Perfectly Good Trail


4,5 • 4 • 3,5 • 3 • 2,5

There is no reason found inside numbers. What meaning do they have here?

I am angry when I first see the kilometer marker along the footpath. The small size of the tile still bears power against a landscape largely free of man-made artifacts. Once I’ve seen the number I cannot “un-see” it. 4.5 kilometers to Goedgeloof Hut.

No, let go of it. That number means nothing here. It does not tell me how far it truly is, or how long it will take me to arrive there. It speaks to nothing within this landscape, only the landscape within some mind, flattened and measured, tamed.

Further down the footpath I find reassurance in the realization in that these numbers will not last; they will be lost or destroyed.

I find a place where a marker should be, only the ceramic tile has broken out of the cement anchor. Later, I wander off-trail to find water and find another marker far from the current footpath, a sign that the footpath was relocated and this tile will be forgotten and lost.

Another tile is on a stone balanced on a small pile of rock… it would only take the slightest nudge to upset the careful balancing act and the marker would tumble down the mountain… (oops?)

  • Johann Lanz

    Love this post, thanks.