We circle up to 3,000' and Matt instructs me to pull the red knob on my left. I hear a "ping" as the tow rope is released. The sound of the plane's propeller dies to a muffled buzz as it peels off to our left. We slow to 50 miles per hour, the optimal speed for efficient gliding. Matt points out a few landmarks, including the Manhattan skyline just barely perceptible on the horizon. He asks me, "Do you want to take over the controls?" This is what I've been waiting for.
Having been outdoors and hiking since I first learned what a State Park was, I've come to a striking conclusion; hiking trips are not just memories, they are experiences. These experiences dictate your worldview much more than memories do. These experiences are revisited by the mind in moments of solitude, in moments when you need a distraction and in moments you need motivation. A memory is only a thought, whereas an experience is a feeling.