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Spirituality and the StateManaging Nature and Experience in America's National Parks$
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Kerry Mitchell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479886418

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479886418.001.0001

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The John Muir Trail

The John Muir Trail

The Properties of Wilderness

(p.55) 2 The John Muir Trail
Spirituality and the State

Kerry Mitchell

NYU Press

This chapter evaluates the interview responses of individuals who hiked the John Muir Trail to gauge their attitudes towards spiritual experience and nature. Their responses demonstrate the different ways in which individuals experience spirituality, seek a sense of connection, and enact hiking or outdoor experience as religious practice. At the same time, the hikers did not tend to relate the communal dimensions of their experience on the trail to a sense of spirituality. Instead, many hikers sought to remove themselves from society to attain a period of self-reflection. This accords with general understandings of spirituality to focus on the individual at the expense of traditionally recognized religious organizations or traditions.

Keywords:   John Muir Trail, hikers, spirituality

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