After the dear, dear loss of my doggie companion and best friend, Kacy, I needed to clear my head and hit the dirt hiking. I do these hikes not just for exercise but for peace of mind. I find solace in the abundance of serenity it provides. I find vitality and vigor in each adventurous trek.
Some people might say that it’s all the same; just a dirt path through the trees; or so I’ve heard. But to me, every step, every curve and bend, every hill and valley, every tunnel and pasture is unique and holds my attention dearly, creating a new adventure, no matter if I’ve experienced the trail before or not. That’s the thing about nature, is that it’s ever-changing, moving, growing, falling, dying. It’s tough to have the same experience each trek down the same trail.
I come to hang out with the wildlife. The trees, flowers, shrubbery, mosses, fungi. The animals; birds, squirrels, snakes, chipmunks, deer, owls, cardinals, blue jays, hawks. I could go on and on and on and on. They sometimes provide better company than some of the people I run into on the day-to-day. <chuckle> The sounds and songs they make are music to my ears. I love seeing the different shapes and paths trees take as they grow; how some split and meander, finding ways to gain more sunlight as it grows; how some twist around other trees and branches to possess some of the strength of the other trees nearby. No two trees are exactly alike, and these differences make each one unique in its own ways. I even caught a photo of a tree that looks like it hung its own bark out to dry.
A hike was definitely what I needed. I, of course, veered toward my favorite hiking trail finder app, Alltrails, and stumbled upon Holly State Recreation Area to be the ticket to some thinking time that I so desired. Located in Holly, Michigan, just off Grange Hall Road, near Dixie Highway. The weather said it was a 40% chance of rain, so I strapped on my hiking boots, packed a raincoat and my gaiters (just in case) as well as some water in my pack, and drove out to the trailhead. It was raining on and off the entire 45-minute drive out there, but let up as I pulled into the park.
As I started on my hike at the trailhead, four trail runners were ending their journey, sweating, laughing, and talking about how much fun they had. It was a good sign of what I had ahead of me. The trail was perfect. A nice, dirt path. Not too open, leaving a lot for the mind to wonder what was around the next bend. The temperature was in the mid to upper 60s, but very cloudy. However, the rain had not started…yet. As I trekked through the woods, my body temperature rose and I began to sweat, but just as I stopped for a drink of water from my pack, the rain began. The good thing, however, is that the canopy sheilded me from the brunt of it and just a few drops here and there poked through, keeping me nice a cool and refreshed.
I took my grand ol’ time because I could. I was in no hurry, no deadlines to meet, no requirements to follow, no time to keep. Just me and Mother Nature, and that’s all I needed.
As I meandered through the trails, my thoughts and wonderful memories with my dear puppy flooded my brain. I cried, I smiled, I laughed, I sobbed, I chuckled and buckled even. I really needed this. She would have loved this hike, and I felt like I would give anything to have her with me at this moment. I, then, began also thinking about some of her furry friends she had also met through the years that she was now with again. I know that she is in a better place now, no suffering, no pain.
I really needed this time to grieve, to let go of her, and this hike was doing its job tremendously. The fresh air, cool breezes, bits of cool rain, and sounds of the wildlife were tranquil and restorative. Nature does that. Its restorative and healing powers are wonderful and amazing.
There is even therapy based on nature and its healing powers. Check out the article, More Than Your Typical Walk In The Woods, written by Ken Ouendag, Vancouver’s first Certified Forest Therapy Guide.
Forest therapy has your wellness in mind. Guided by research, certified guides like myself work with a specific intention — to open the door to the healing properties of the forest.