Balm for the Soul

The past few weeks at work have been very busy and tiring. Not bad, just…exhausting. Everyone had reached the end of their rope and we were hanging on by our fingernails. So, a long weekend did not come amiss! Really, all I wanted to do was either go sit on a mountaintop by myself or binge-watch Lord of the Rings and tune out the world. Well, I didn’t do either, but it was clear I desperately needed some nature-based solitude.

Last weekend we went on a hike to Lake Twenty-Two, but it was the busiest trail I’d ever encountered. Partially because it’s popular, and partially because we got a very late start (oops). Also, my injury was seriously flaring up on the latter half of the hike, which really put a damper on the experience. All in all, the hike felt like it may have added to my stress instead of calming it.

Adam, looking at Lake Twenty-Two. Beautiful, but busy!

This weekend I decided to try a solo hike (Adam is out of town). I got up quite early and got on the trail to Annette Lake before 8am. <sigh> It made all the difference. On the way up I basically had the trail to myself. I was able to enjoy the moss, ferns, foxglove, fireweed, and evergreens in relative peace and quiet.

Lovely foxglove

Can’t ever get enough of the ferns!

On the trail I occasionally met campers coming down from the lake, smelling of campfire…and s’mores? (Perhaps just wishful thinking on my part.) And I heard the call of the Varied Thrush, breaking the silence with its referee whistle-like call (always makes me think there is a soccer game just up ahead.) But otherwise? Blissfully peaceful.

Standard misty-moodiness of the PNW

All of this, the Pacific Northwest at its finest, was balm to my soul. All of the way up to the lake I enjoyed the solitude. Once I got there, the low clouds/mist obscured some of the surrounding scenery, so it wasn’t terribly interesting. However, expansive and glorious scenery really wasn’t the point today. Letting go of any emotional garbage, work and personal frustrations, and just focusing on the movement and the nature around me…THAT was the point.

Since I’m not running due to my injury, I’m really feeling the lack of time out on the trails. However, I will say that since I’m doing more easy hiking (vs. running) lately, I’m spending time on some trails that I wouldn’t have otherwise. A lot of these trails are not that runnable, or too short for long runs, so I wouldn’t have even bothered before. A silver lining for this injury!

To celebrate, I shall toast this wonderful, fern-filled little piece of America with my favorite American single malt whisky – Westland. 🙂 Happy Independence Day!


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