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It is not hard to understand the natural feeling humans have while on single track trails. For some, it feels as if they are programmed to process and move through dirt trails, while hiking, running, or cycling. It is curious, how humans seem to naturally travel over roots, rocks large and small, and tight turns, with such little mental effort. Considering how much mental effort we spend trying to focus on a computer related task, or which toppings to order on a pizza, it’s remarkable how this activity clicks so well on our deepest level. It’s as if the process of moving across trails is primal, and that is exactly what it is.

While running down the Five Lakes trail in Alpine Meadows, it came to me just how primal, animalistic it is to run down a trail. Our mind seems to process our velocity, maintain our balance, enabling us to sense with our feet, while continuing to predict the path for us in real time. If there is one activity a ‘self driven’ robot will struggle with, it is most certainly trail navigation at speed. Our mind subconsciously processes the obstacles ahead of us, anticipating shapes, textures, and space without thought, as we fly, on foot or on bicycles, down the trail. It is a rare subliminal combination of entirely consumptive activity, where high consequence moves where a misstep could cause harm, in the bath of Mother Nature.

Yet as toddlers, we navigate trotting down trails without knowing multiplication, long division, or even how to tie our shoes. Keep it primal out there.