Above Crowd-Level

Yosemite climbers


One of the best ways to avoid crowds is to go where the crowds won’t go.  This is not a suggestion to frequent dark alleys and condemned restaurants but rather a prodding to allow yourself the full wilderness experience when venturing into the wild.

If the trail is paved and/or easy to follow, you haven’t gone far enough.  If you know where the next public restroom is, you’ll need to hike further —beyond the water spigots, educational trail side signs and maybe even your comfort zone to where you’re thankful for your map and beef jerky —and are aware of little more than your next step on the trail.


Difficult passages tend to keep one focused in the present.  It’s why grief blurs adjunct memories and why athletes rarely hear the cheers of their fans.  In lives spiraling with multi-tasked peripheral events, intensity can grab a moment and cement it as an elevating foundational experience.  My hike through The Subway of Zion National Park has permanent status, as does mountain-biking in Mammoth Lakes, free diving through a coral tunnel in the Caribbean, crossing Gibraltar’s airport runway on foot and getting stranded on the island of Vieques with two of my kids.

Climbing, biking, hiking, swimming… beyond the crowds is well worth the fear, effort and delays to ordinary life because extreme moments tend to be unique moments that will be yours alone.


Yosemite National Park Things To Do

15 Comments to Above Crowd-Level

  1. Not a place to go Christmas shopping!

  2. I’m breathless trying to keep up with you. Great stuff again.

  3. I missed some of your posts lately. When I got back here, I read this stunning philosophy of travel above crowd level. It gives readers including me some rooms to think of our next travel… 🙂

  4. Above crowd-level, you won’t be seeing me as well.

    I like the feeling..

  5. Suzanne Perazzini

    For me, the moments that are cemented in my memory are those when I have viewed something awe-inspiring like the ruins of Machu Picchu, the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the mighty Zambezi River, the Grand Canyon etc. I stop myself deliberately, pause the moment and drink in the wonder. That way, the sight, sounds and smells stay with me forever as clearly as a video.

  6. Amazing as always 🙂

  7. Well said. I practice yoga, and found myself really loving difficult hikes lately, because it does force you into the present. Enjoy your blog.


  8. Graham: …which is part of the attraction for me! I’m a much better hiker than shopper!
    Thank you Donald! We’re mutual fans, huh?
    Cecil Lee: Good to hear from you! And thanks! If a scenic spot is easy to get to, you can almost always count on a crowd. While I DO enjoy people watching, I’d rather do that at an airport!

  9. Rainfield: We have similar philosophies, I think. Your solitary hikes allow you to notice details that most would miss.
    Suzanne: I’ve read that when you commit something to video, the video version becomes the memory. Other details somehow fall away from one’s mental access. The deliberate gathering of the moment seems the best way to create a lasting memory. (And WOW! You have some terrific moments worth keeping in that list!)

  10. An interesting way of putting it – well said. I love the idea of the escape and adds to the memory of these special locations.

  11. Gorgeous photos and beautiful post, Heather!!! I loooove how you go the extra mile and bring us back such treats to see. 😀

    Happy Holidays!
    Nancy J/JJ

  12. Forex: Thanks much!
    Catherine: We tend to remember intense people, flavors and experiences, don’t we? If I could park with some intensity, I might be able to find my car a little easier later!
    Mark: I know you’ve had many “above crowd level” experiences. Which is why I enjoy reading about your travels so much!
    Thank you, JJ, and congrats on yet another book!

  13. This is so good written, Heather! I had like a movie going on in front of my eyes, reading this. Thank you for your beautiful blog!

    a href=”http://sues-daily-photos.blogspot.com/”>Sue’s Daily Photography

  14. Brenda Franzo

    Heather, what a wonderful post and such beautiful photography… Thank you for sharing! I’m looking forward to spending some time here and reading more…

  15. Learn the basic language when you like to travel to different countries… Spanish will help in Spanish countries.
    Then, communicate with locals as much as possible off the beaten track…
    You will be surprised what secrets for activities, festivities, restaurants and so much more you may discover, which are hardly ever in tourist brochures.

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