After a breakfast at The Buff (which was incredible), Mom, Maggie (my sister) and I took Flagstaff Road up, past where David and I rock climb, past our sunset spot, all the way to a sign which read “Leaving of Open Space and Mountain Parks.” I had found directions to “Green Mountain Ridge Hike” on the Alltrails app. We parked by the sign and started on the trailhead hidden behind it.
Slowly we made our way into the evergreen trees with Lacey bounding excitedly ahead. Step after step it became easier and I felt myself bleed into the forest. I think I’ve figured out why I find myself drawn toward hiking and it has to do with 4 stages:
- The beginning: the first few minutes of hiking always feel more like exercise than anything. Each time I wonder why I love hiking so much and my mind whirls from one thought to another, one stressor to another. I trip over root and call out to Lacey each time she wanders from the path.
- Focusing the mind: As I continue to walk I slowly realize what’s around me — pine trees, ancient boulders, wildflowers, small golden butterflies… and I find myself in awe. My eyes flick from side to side, trying to absorb every aspect of the beauty around me. I am mentally and physically active.
- Conversation: This is the part of the hike when conversations happen which only happen among nature. I am loudly joyful, calling to Lacey and stopping often to witness breathtaking vistas. I talk with fellow travelers about what I see; we discuss what it may mean, letting our words wander as our footsteps do.
- Quietude: The point where the path takes precedence over all else. I forget to think, I forget to call to Lacey as she chases squirrels and chipmunks. I am wide open. I witness. My feet move forward of their own accord and I am allowed to simply breathe.
Hiking has taught me to trust that peace has its own way of finding me.