After a few minutes of picture taking and general awe, we pressed on.
Then we spotted a hollowed out tree. We looked at that tree for about five minutes, speculating on how it came to be and what all lived there and if the heart in the trunk was natural or manmade.
We went on like this for I don’t know how far, as we stopped measuring our hike in miles. We even stopped measuring it in time.
We began measuring it in experiences and our enjoyment of what each moment, each new turn presented to us.
Sometimes we made commentary to each other about all we were seeing and sometimes we hiked in silence, listening to the sounds of the stream rushing and birds calling.
When we finally came to what we think was the first small waterfall, we took a break to soak it in. Literally. We climbed into the river a bit below the falls and let it make its mark on us. My daughter snapped photo after photo. My son picked up river rocks. I splashed around in the cool stream and watched the water flow.
On the way back we stopped at a wide spot by the creek and played a while. We climbed on logs and skipped the rocks. We relished this last bit of our time in the forest before we hiked back to the trailhead.
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I have to be honest and tell you that my previous self would have considered this hike a failure for we did not make it to our goal.
But middle-aged, mindfulness practicing, be present in the moment Dena has decided that this may be the best hike I have ever been on.
Because we enjoyed each step of the way.
It turned out that we made it back to the RV right before the thunderstorm hit. As we ate our lunch and listened to the rain and thunder, I felt gratitude wash over me like the pouring rain.
My life is far from perfect and I have “failed” at many things. But my goodness, the hike through the years has been some kind of beautiful.]]>