Finally. A Hike

Ohio has endured a long, dark, cold, windy and overall nasty winter. There’s been almost no snow to pretty things up but we do have a nice coating of mud on everything in sight.

It has been bleak.

And the few rays of sunshine seem to never fall on weekends so this has not been a good outdoors season.

So imagine the thrill yesterday when it wasn’t raining and I had free time to hike! It was a cold morning – about 28 degrees – so I layered up like Randy on A Christmas Story and logged about six miles.

There were few others out in the state park that early so I had the place mostly to myself. Well, it was me and the deer!

This place is typically overrun with tourists which makes it even more special when you realize you have the whole place to yourself.

Take thirteen seconds and just breathe. Enjoy the gushing water and the beauty of Ohio’s Hocking Hills.

Happy Sunday!

Making The Best Of It

Saturday was gloomy and cool but that didn’t deter me from hitting the trail. I’ve been dying to get out for a hike for about a month now. Sadly, it has been rainy or dark every time the opportunity has been available.

The trail was nearly deserted and there were few people around to interfere with my peaceful morning. It reminded me that sometimes conditions in life are not ideal. Sometimes it’s a little dreary and cool. Sometimes you can’t have just what you want. That doesn’t mean you should not push forward, make the best of your circumstances, and reach for what will make you happy.

In fact, you may just find the experience more enjoyable because you’re pushing forward while the crowds are holding back.

Look For The Rainbows

Can you see the rainbow in the above picture? It’s not a great photo or a strong rainbow, just a quick phone picture on a recent hike through the Hocking Hills.

I found it yesterday and thought it a great example of how the way we look at things changes everything.

If you want to see good in the world, you will. If you want to see a rainbow in a trickle of water, you will. No matter how faint.

But with a bad attitude, you will only see the negative. It’s like viewing the world through a black and white lens.

It’s much prettier when you go looking for the good, isn’t it?

Look for something good or happy or pretty in your world today. I promise that it’s there.

Stopping To Smell The Dirt

It should come as no surprise to my pals here that I went hiking last night – about four miles on one of my favorite local trails.

Fresh air and exercise beckoned all day. After all, it was about seventy degrees and sunny with blue skies as far as the eye could see.

Who wouldn’t be in a hurry to get outside on a day like this?

But once I got to the trail, I forced myself to slow down and really take in my surroundings. I’ve been tired lately, the kind of tired you just can’t sleep off. But it is the kind of tired that responds well to quiet, to fresh air and to standing still in a nearly abandoned forest.

Most of the tourists were gone for the day so, while I did see a few folks, it felt like I had the place to myself.

When this happens I like to stop, to close my eyes and absorb my surroundings. Here’s what I loved best last night….

The softness of soil and rotting leaves and pine needles beneath my feet. There is no more pleasant sensation than stepping down into this after a long day.

The drip-drip of water from the side of an age old rock. The wet winter and spring have left the waterfalls gushing and small streams gently rolling over the sides of cliffs and hills.

A woodpecker in a nearby tree. I can’t see him but his presence is clear and the rhythm he keeps overpowers all the other sounds of the forest.

The babbling of a stream as it winds through a narrow gorge, past boulders and under fallen trees. I wonder where it ends and what life it carries with it.

The spring breeze through new leaves on the trees and through my hair. Oh, how calming and cool it is in my hair.

The smell of earth, musty and yet vibrant. There is no other scent like it and one that I recall during even the coldest nights in the dead of winter. It’s amazing to experience in real life, especially on the first few warm days of spring.

The sad coo of a mourning dove. Let’s just say the name is appropriate.

A fallen leaf as it gently dances across the trail. It looks happy and aimless and sometimes I wish I could be so satisfied just going whichever way the wind is blowing. I’m good at that some days but struggle others and often think I shouldn’t have to try so hard to be carefree.

The way sunlight dapples a cliffside and creates unique patterns where there previously were none. But I know the light will change again and the art created by the sun will change or just altogether disappear – a good reminder not to let a special moment pass without notice.

The chatter of a squirrel who, moments ago, was barreling through the leaves, making believe he is an elephant. At least, I’m sure that’s what he was doing because that’s what it sounded like.

How many times have I prepared to meet my Maker because a squirrel sounds like a bear about to attack?

It was a peaceful evening in the woods and one I hope to replicate many times in my life. It’s sort of like stopping to smell the roses. While you may not be up for a hike in the woods, my wish is that you find a way every day to stop and smell the roses (or the dirt) and to enjoy life.

It’s Just Around The Corner!

It’s just around the corner! Long woodland hikes along Trillium lined trails! Isn’t it pretty? Trillium is Ohio’s official wildflower, in case you ever need to know.

Winter into spring 2018 (81)

And flowerbeds filled with Irises of every color! My favorites are the traditional rich purple pictured here and bright, sunny yellow.

Winter into spring 2018 (90)

Hang in there, friends. Spring will be here soon! And remember, happiness is having something to look forward to.

The small picture

Saturday was a small picture kind of day. Mr. Wonderful and I hit the trails at our local state park and had a lovely time hiking and playing with our cameras.

We both have jobs that are so consumed by details that we sometimes forget to stop and enjoy the small things in life. So that’s what we did on Saturday. We took time to breathe the fresh Ohio air and we photographed little details along the way, things we ordinarily might have just walked past.

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It was a delightful, relaxing day and perfect reminder to be grateful we live in the woods and so close to parks where we can enjoy the outdoors.