Getting Lost in the Woods

I received a lovely note from a friend of mine this week and I’d like to share some of it with you:

Hi Dawn 😉 I don’t know if you remember me, but we met about five or six years ago. I follow you regularly on Facebook and I have to say that the way you live your life is very inspiring to me. You radiate happiness and the possibilities of following your dreams! You look healthy, happy, strong and like you are outside a lot! Thank you for sharing your life with others and being so inspirational. I’m going to put some shoes on everyone and we’re going to go outside and get lost in the woods!”

Big, big smile! This note made me so happy! She is right! I AM healthy, happy, strong and outside a lot! As my motto is Live Simply, Breathe Deeply , Travel Lightly  I make certain that I spend lots of time outside as part of my exercise routine which fits into the Breathe Deeply part. I love my life but it wasn’t always so. And this friend knew me before. She new me when I was 45 pound heavier, depressed and not enjoying my life very much. So she can see the difference that my Yoga Gypsy Lifestyle has facilitated.

I love her line about “getting lost in the woods” and I thought about it all weekend while my guy and I were off camping in Eastern WA. We routinely head over to the east side of the Cascade Mountains to avoid the cold and wet Puget Sound area where we currently live. We feel so much more energetic, ready to explore and “Breathe Deeply”  when we can be in the sunshine!

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Each morning we get up, have our coffee and decide where we want to explore. On our first day we walked down the short path to the creek that was below our camp site. The creek is about 15 feet wide, very shallow and clear as can be. You can make out the color and shape of every stone as the water passes over. There are a few rocky ledges over which the water burbles softly – my favorite sound on earth! Cedar trees reach their branches low to the water’s edge and mossy rocks invite you to meditate for a while!

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The next day we decided to take the road less travelled. My guy has a big pick up truck and enjoys getting it nice and dirty! We drove north out of Winthrop, up and over the mountains on a long, rutted, dirt road to Conconully.

Along the way we saw thousands of acres of land ravaged by forest fires! We couldn’t believe our eyes. Over every hill was another hill and valley devoid of trees. The only thing left were tall black spires where healthy green trees used to stand! We couldn’t comprehend how huge the fire had been. How hot it must have been and how long it will take to regrow.

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After our long drive we needed to get out of the car and move for a bit so we stopped in Mazama and picked up a trail guide. They have some great bicycle trails over there! They are color coded on the map just like ski trails. Green for easy, Blue for a little more challenge, and black for those who want to ride hard! One of the trails even goes 30 miles over to Winthrop! We chose a green trail and rode out 5 miles to a suspension bridge over Early Winters Creek.

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But the most fun of all was our morning hike on the last day. We set off just after breakfast on the flat wide trail heading west out of Klipchuck Campground. The trail meanders through some meadows with widely spaced trees which became more dense as we went on.

When I get into the woods I become enamored with the wonders of nature around me. It’s as though I’ve stepped through some magical portal where everything is more interesting, beautiful and in need of closer inspection!

One large tree was dripping sap from its bark. The sap glowed amber gold in the sunlight. This same tree also had hairy lime green moss growing on its north side. The swirls and whorls of the bark make beautiful layers of color and pattern. 

Another tree had fallen to the ground and was now a nursery for all kinds of fungi and baby trees. A spider’s web glowed with rainbow colors in the morning sunlight. Berries and wild flowers of every color were in attendance. I noticed a spot where a squirrel had recently enjoyed his breakfast of pine nuts!

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I pushed my way through bushes, climbed over massive fallen logs and crawled under others. I traversed a narrow rock ledge and sat on a log listening to the sounds of nature all around me, I watched the breeze blow the maple leaves and tried to identify the birds singing nearby……I was lost. Lost is the woods and happy, happy, happy!

When I was a kid we were told to go outside and play! We used our imagination, built forts, scraped our knees, rode our bikes, drank from the stream, built race tracks in the dirt, played tag among the trees and came home when mom called for us. As an adult, I try to be outside at least for an hour every day. This time in nature helps me recharge. It helps me think more clearly and be in the present moment. 

Times are different now.  People are becoming to attached to their electronics. Kids and adults alike are busy checking their facebook feed,  playing computer games and sitting in front of the TV.  I’d like to challenge you to leave your phone behind and go for a walk. Go somewhere you haven’t been before to foster a sense of exploration. Try the beach if you like being by the water. Try the woods. Take your time. Look around, see the beauty. Engage with nature and plug-in to something real! Maybe you too will find that you enjoy Getting a Little Lost in the Woods!

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P.S. As I sit here writing this, two squirrels just ran past me, one chasing the other! Now time to turn off this electronic gadget and go plug-in to nature!

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