The trees remembered me. I could tell by the way the wind rustled their leaves in just a certain way. I didn’t know if they would since it had been so long since I had been this way.
The path was overgrown, and a bit dark as the canopy overhead blocked out the sun. I was afraid as only a woman walking alone in the woods can be. Too many horror stories real and make-believe. I refused to turn back as I had come too far like the story of my life.
The deeper I traveled, the richer the sounds of the forest, and the smells of decaying earth filled my lungs. You know the smell that only comes in the fall as the trees lose their leaves.
The crows scared me with there cawing and the unearthly swish of their wings taking flight as they shook the acorns from the trees to rain down upon me. Trying to unbalance me like marbles strewn about. The sound of the crunching beneath my feet. I was careful though. I called upon my spirit animals to walk by my side, and the fear slowly melted away.
The path opened up as the trees thinned and the water lay before me and the river welcomed me home. It too remembered.
As many of you know, I recently moved to Ashland, Wi. I left my life in the Twin Cities and began anew. One of the ways I have been settling into this new life is through nature photography. I have always found peace in nature. From the moment I step into the woods my energy shifts and my soul lightens. Well, usually that’s what happens.
Yesterday, my hike took a different turn. As I pulled up to the trail head I immediately noticed there wasn’t a bathroom in sight. It took me over a half hour to drive there so I already had to pee when I arrived. I knew I would have to find a friendly tree to squat behind as soon as I could find one.
Once I finished my potty break I started down the trail. I was excited as I had never been to this spot before. Right away I could see that there wasn’t many flowers, which are my usual choice to take photos of. As I continued on my journey the wee little gnats began to gnaw on me. In my haste to go on my adventure I forgot one of the most essential things to bring on a north woods hike, bug spray! In my case, a bug deterring essential oil.
The trail was muddy, windy and gnarled. Needless to say I could barely look up from the path or I could have easily tripped on a tree root. By the time I made it to my destination, a waterfall, I was a bit disappointed. There were people down there who were smoking cigarettes and generally killing my nature vibe. I did get a few shots of the waterfall but the bugs were keeping me from spending any more time there than necessary.
As I walked back to my car I was reflecting on how not all nature hikes are sublime. As miserable as this hike was, it wasn’t a total bust. I got a great aerobic work out and it was a lovely drive there and back.
P.S. – The photo above of the snowman in the moss was early on in my hike. I looked down and there it was just hanging out. I have no idea why it was there or how it had arrived in the first place. I think it was a foreshadowing of my entire adventure. Not every thing happens as expected.