Happy Sunday my friends! I'm still smiling from my hike that I paddled to and from on Friday! As you can see, my hiking gear wasn't very conventional, but then, who wants to be conventional?
Actually, I didn't have my backpack with me, but found that my Baggu Duck Bag, with it's adjustable strap, worked great to just sling across my body. (My friend gave me that bag and I've been using it all summer. I love it. It has two handles, an adjustable strap, a little pocket inside with a snap, and another snap to close the bag... If you are looking for a bag that will make you smile, this might be the bag you are looking for.) As for hiking in my Chucks, I figure it's more dangerous to walk in shoes that I'm not used to wearing... However, hiking with them does come with an inherent slipping danger. Now that I've defended my choice in hiking apparatus, would you like to take this hike with me?
I had been wanting do this this kayak/hiking trip for awhile, and was thrilled when a free day and good weather coincided. Exercise, nature, and some solitude seems to be things I crave, and these needs gets neglected more often than not.
The paddle to the trailhead was a good little work out, but it wasn't until I was in the woods that I really felt that invigorating feeling I get from hiking. It's a pretty distinctive feeling, (and I don't want to sound too poetic, but), marked by an increase of energy and a sense of blissful belonging.
It was as if my senses were heightened. It felt like I could see and hear everything. I saw little salamanders on the path that I had to step over, I heard acorns falling from trees, I watched leaves fall from the trees, and I saw lots of spiders and their webs. Lots of spiders. I walked around several webs, and as it was I ended up taking a couple spiders off of me after disturbing their little homes. After one minor freak out with a spider on me, I became strangely accustomed to the feeling of spider webs on my arms. (Ick!)
After a mile, I made it to the little pond. It was so quiet and peaceful! Well, except for my grumbling stomach.
So I put up my hammock by the pond and ate a sandwich! My Eno hammock makes me smile. It's awesome. It's lightweight, big enough for two, can hold 400 pounds, and with their tree straps, set up is so easy! Seriously, one of my favorite purchases ever.
After my little lunch, I had to decide whether or not I wanted to venture the next 1.1 miles to the top of the hill (an elevation of 680 feet). The first mile was easy, but I knew from past experience, it gets pretty steep towards the top. True, I wasn't in the best shape, but "let's do this!!"
(Taking pictures with my phone was a great excuse to catch my breath. I love ferns!)
After much huffing and puffing, and buckets of sweat (it didn't help it was pretty hot that day!), I made it to the top, something I hadn't done in quite a few years! Even though the trees had grown up so much that there really wasn't any sort of a view, it didn't ruin the sense of accomplishment for me.
Climbing a tree and zooming my phone as far as it went, you can just make out some of the lake through the branches of the tree in the photo above.
Of course I had to set up my hammock again for a nice celebratory rest. And another sandwich of course. After my sandwich, water and rest, I found myself on the ground... I had, like a dummy, attached one end of my hammock to a not so healthy looking stump of a tree. Down it came. (I was not hurt of course!) Well, I thought, time do head back down!
That was the most impressive web and spider I found! I didn't see him on the way up, so I was just glad I hadn't walked through it! I have seen a plethora of spiders this summer. They have been everywhere this summer. I swear, I seem to attract them and every other kind of bug as well. I've been freeing (and by "freeing" I mean "putting outside") grasshoppers, crickets, millipedes and sometimes even spiders that I don't end up "freeing" in another sense, from my room. Spiders and I have a unique relationship. I've gotten much better about them, (but prefer them in places other than on my person), and now hold a healthy respect towards them. I think they have turned more into a symbol of fear for me, and have even turned up with perfect timing, to remind me as much, making me smile instead of say, scream or throw articles of clothing off (yeah, I whipped my shirt off once after a spider landed on me... not one of my prouder moments). Anyways, I thought this one was beautiful, and was glad I could get the web to show up in the picture!
Speaking of symbols and metaphors, as I was making my descent, I thought about my hammock folly. One, I couldn't believe after seeing that some of the bark was missing off the tree I still thought it was a good one, and two, I thought it had taught me a wise lesson - Not to tether myself to dead things.
This became even more apparent, after listening to what William Walker Atkinson said in his book Thought Vibrations, which I was listening to as I walked down. (Thank you Libriovx App! This free app, which allows you to listen to readings of books in the public domain, is something to smile about!) He says "this is not the place in which you can stalk around like a living corpse - this is the place for wide-awake, active, live people, and a good general awakening is what is needed; although it would take nothing less than a blast from Gabriel's trumpet to awaken some of the people who are stalking around thinking that they are alive, but who are really dead to all that makes life worthwhile."
Atkinson talks about the importance of not letting worry take away your vitality, and about really putting life into every thought, and into everything you say and do throughout the day. We'll miss the interesting things around us "unless we assert our life force and begin to actually live instead of merely existing."
I think that hike for me was the waking up he was talking about... That invigorating feeling I talked about, that life force, is something I need to concentrate on and cultivate. (And it all comes back around!) What a great little journey.
I hope your day is full of life my friends!!