Take a Hike!
I'm not sure where that phrase picked up its negative connotations. For me, those are some of the best words I can hear. After all, I absolutely love to hike. About the only thing I enjoy more is horseback riding - and that is only because I love horses (which I really can't help - I've been afflicted since before I can remember). Besides, they get me farther up and farther away.
My 'New Year's Resolution' (I don't really make those things, but the changing of the year, like the changing of the seasons, always reminds me of changes I need to make) for 2008 was to get out! I committed to exercise 6 days a week. So far, I've been able to keep on schedule - at least for the most part.
We hear all about the bodily benefits of physical exercise. I concur! I do feel MUCH better. However, I think (at least with back woods hiking) the mental benefits ought to get more attention. After all, as we get into the 'thick' of the season, I'm left with less energy to spare. Consequently, my hikes are becoming more 'hike' and less 'power walk'. However, I don't plan to give them up - even if I get to the point I'm really barely strolling up the trail!
Think about it. I get time alone (great for interspection). I get quiet time (great for meditation). My eyes, ears, and even my nose are literally bombared with the amazing sights, sounds, and smells of God's creation (great for humiliation).
All in all, I can't imagine a better way to start my day. And, that from a once non-morning person! Sometimes I really can't believe my body is waking me up so early just to go to work! In fact, most mornings, the first few minutes I'm yawning so much I can hardly see where I'm headed. But, it doesn't last long. And then - wow! The beauties my eyes behold.
Wildflowers! You can't imagine the rainbow of color through which I traverse! Every day the trailsides burst with new hues and shades and shapes. From the delicate cool-loving flowers in the draws to the bold, brilliant heat-loving flowers on the south-facing slopes - vibrant (and sometimes heady) friends line my pathway.
Animals! I'm getting plain ole' spoiled this summer. Not only do I get to enjoy a greater variety of wildflowers than the norm, I'm enjoying daily wildlife sightings. Today a young buck bound across my path - just a few yards ahead. Watching him bounce across the meadow and up the hillside was pure poetry in motion. When he stopped to pose for his photo, it was almost like he was agreeing with my accessment of his beauty and grace.
Yesterday it was elk. I had the privilege of watching seven cows and four calves climb a sagebrush covered hillside before ducking into the heavy of timber near its summit.
A few days previous I nearly trod upon an unsuspecting fawn. I never get over how still they lie - even when they are within feet of danger. Except for its wide eyes (clearly revealing its fear), one would think it was not real. Even more amazing - the dogs didn't see or smell it. Awesome design!
Wildflowers. Mountain Vistas. Sagebrush covered hillsides. Dark, majestic pine forests. Flittering and flashing aspen groves. Elk. Deer. Sandhill Cranes. Ducks. Trumpeter Swans. Pronghorns. Grouse. Smaller birds in bright plumage. Fox. These delight my eye and restore a sense of right to my world each morning.
Chattering mountain streams. Twittering birds. A wren's morning praise song. Wind whistling through the trees. A hawk's shrill cry. Silence. These restore my balance.
Fresh mountain air. The heavy dew's wet dirt smell. The flower's wisps of sweet perfume. The forest floor's musky scent. These revitalize my senses.
So, though my days take on a more hectic pace - my ears jangle from a cacophony of sound - my eyes rush from scene to scene trying to take it all in - I still wouldn't trade my spot for yours any day of the week!
Lady of the Lake