There's something about a trail. I see one from the helicopter and, momentarily abandoning my mission of looking for fires, try and find out where it goes. I glimpse trailheads when driving, and wonder what lake or ridge they might access. I try to mark these places in my memory, in case I return.
To me, these winding paths through the forest, prairie or mountains signify possibility. Adventure, discovery, solitude...any of these could be waiting out there. Trails have mystery, while roads don't.
I've never regretted setting foot on a trail. While I've gotten temporarily lost, gotten minor injuries, and flirted with hypothermia at times, in the end I've always been glad I took the path rather than the road. I just wish I had time to take more of them.