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Runner, runner, what do you see?

[caption width="650" id="attachment_617" align="alignleft"]Running on mountains again after months off from an injury, hitting the summit with the sun. “Good Morning!! #gratitude #squaw” PC: Brandon Dase Brandon Dase's #trailfie captures the joy of running on mountains again after months off from an injury, hitting the summit with the sun. Good Morning! :)! #gratitude #squaw[/caption]Everything around us is light. When our eyelids are open, light passes through the corneal lens and focuses on the retinas' photoreceptive cells. It’s a small miracle that those cells can then translate that light into neural impulses that are interpreted instantaneously by the brain into what we simply call sight. Some vistas almost seem like too much to glance away from, like too much light to absorb and interpret all at once. A newborn child. A hummingbird at a honeysuckle. A panorama of nature overwhelming in its breadth and detail. Still, we eventually have to look away and the vision is gone, but somehow remains imprinted in our brains as memories.

This world of trailrunning has no shortage of pictures online and in magazines: scenery, sweaty and salty runners, and even intricate details of nature. For various reasons, some runners would never carry a camera or take a #trailfie. For others, the camera is running gear. It’s part of the run because the run is part of his or her life, and those delicate brain imprints are not always recalled upon demand as time passes. As long as the medium is reliable, a picture is proof to your future self that you were there.

Recently my son and I joined a small group run/hike up a local mountain ridge. Led by Kendall, up we went, much more hiking than running, through hard-as-rock dirt, shin-bruising-ice-crusted snow, under gnarled cliff-edge-dwelling pine and juniper and mountain mahogany, and over wind-swept viewpoints. Scenes—or light—shone at me from every angle, from the icy expanses of the lake emerging in sunlight down to the tiny gray snake of road slithering up the very cleft of the canyon, to the big mountain sagebrush rooted in a limestone wall.

It wasn’t until one of my friends on the run, Matt Van Horn, later showed us his little video, that I realized something. We all were looking. All the time.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvNMF6DKkZQ[/embed]

So I asked, and yes, we were all at least partially motivated to climb that mountain in order to see what we would see from that new place. Kendall had drawn the line up the ridge, and wanted to share it with friends. Sometimes I wonder why we look. What are we hoping to find on the run? Is it something we can take home with us to remind us of that one amazing view, that together time with family and friends? That we lived for a while on that trail, on that mountain? Trailrunning with others is more than sharing the sights; it’s sharing a vision with all of its individual interpretations, and as an essay’s prompt is to a release of words and ideas, a picture can open the mind's album of memories and experiences.

Why do some take a camera? Is it to inspire others, express individual art, to increase appreciation for nature, increase gratitude to God, pique interest in botany and zoology and astronomy, improve Photoshop skills, or…something else? Why won’t others take a camera? Is it because of a lack of one or fear of breaking it, reluctance of becoming obnoxious to social media connections, wanting to concentrate solely on the sport (does a purist mix his passions?), lack of photographic skills or photogenic qualities, or…something else? Is there even a right answer?

[caption width="1200" id="attachment_618" align="aligncenter"]One view from a hike with my husband on the Mid Mountain Trail in Park City. One view from a hike with my husband on the Mid Mountain Trail in Park City.[/caption]
[caption width="716" id="attachment_615" align="aligncenter"]Shh, it's Cecret Lake. PC: Bridger Harrison Shh, it's Cecret Lake. I'd take a picture, too. PC: IGer @br1dger[/caption]
[caption width="960" id="attachment_616" align="aligncenter"]Perspectives. PC: IGer @nate.y Perspectives. PC: IGer @nate.y[/caption]

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