Connecting With Nature

              This is a reminder of how important it is to get in nature occasionally. Some may require more time in nature than others but benefits everyone who gives it a chance. Nature has benefits to us no matter who you are. It forces us to get away from technology and be in the present moment. It makes us realize how small and insignificant we are, as well as our problems. I spent last weekend hiking in the mountains. There, everything seems slower. My problems seem smaller. And I feel more at peace in this crazy world.

              I went hiking in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, where there are several challenging hikes. The mountain I climbed is called Giant, which is very appropriately named. It wasn’t easy getting up to the summit. Hiking in below freezing temperatures can always be tough, but the conditions on that day were especially tough. Not because of the freezing temperatures though. It was tough because during the week leading up to the hike, it was a very mild week temperature-wise. This caused snowmelt and streams to form. Streams that I had to jump over. And even worse, streams that I couldn’t see. Normally on a winter hike in the High Peaks, the snow and ice are frozen solid so people can walk right across the top of it. However, due to the mild temperatures leading up to my hike there were a fair amount of soft spots where my feet fell through the sidewalk of ice and snow. And a couple times, my foot landed in a stream that was underneath the ice. Each step was a gamble to see if the ice and snow would hold my weight. I only fell through a few times, but even this wasn’t fun. And wetness on a winter hike is sure to make a tough time tougher. The key to winter hiking is staying dry. Being wet only makes the cold easier to penetrate you.

              This hike was tough, but not too tough. I got the summit in record time. My wet and cold feet eventually warmed up by pushing myself throughout the hike. And at last, I was alone on the summit with the most gorgeous views. Being alone on the summit of a mountain is a powerful feeling. You are completely alone with your thoughts. And I was in awe over the magnificent views the mountains congratulated me with. There’s something that happens on hikes where a little survival mode starts to kick in. Especially in the winter, you get a feeling of something might not go right. I think a little of this is great for us. Obviously, we don’t want to be risking our lives. However, a microdose of risk is good from time to time. It forces us to stay present and complete the task on hand. It heightens our senses and puts us in touch with how we used to live before all this technology came into our lives. It’s a powerful and rewarding feeling when you come off that mountain. Fulfilling is an understatement. Especially when you get out of the cold and into your warm car, it lets you know that you completed something that isn’t easy. You conquered the cold, the mountain, and yourself. And you completed your journey.

              Being in nature is something I preach time and time again. It’s a reminder to take a break from technology and get back in touch with our true selves. I always feel a feeling of love after an enduring hike like the one I did last weekend. I feel love for myself. In rut? Give nature a try.


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