“Keep close to nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” ~ John Muir.
That’s exactly what a group of friends and I did last weekend – we broke clear away to the mountains for fresh air and hiking among “happy little trees” with the goal to connect with nature. We also had a few bottles of wine and Cards Against Humanity!
In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ is used to signify any form of connection. Idyllwild is the perfect place to connect with your inner self, make new connections with friends, and most of all connect with nature, to get lost in it. And not ‘lost’ in the way that you forgot your breadcrumb trail on a hike (although breadcrumbs may have come in handy for one of our hiking adventures, but I’ll get to that later) – getting ‘lost’ in the sense that you let go of everything, allow yourself to be present and just melt into all the beauty and wonder that surrounds you.
Saturday’s afternoon hike was along the moderate Deer Springs Trail. We didn’t quite make it to Suicide Rock, as sunset was near and we didn’t want to make the trek back in the dark (Deryk is secretly afraid of critters at night), but we did find a rock to climb that provided great views as well as a great platform for a few yoga poses!
Sunday morning’s hike was a bit more on the adventurous side: Devil’s Slide. This trail had a greater increase in elevation than Deer Springs and our glutes, hammies and lungs felt it, but the view near the top was oh-so-worth-it! Without naming names, someone thought we could get to the viewpoint a little quicker by taking a slight detour off the trail. It was obvious that others had taken this “road less traveled” too, but the thought just made me a Nervous Nelly. I reminded myself that I was in the safety of the group and that this was an adventure, a chance to let go. So I followed.
I was last to get to the viewpoint, as I hesitated along the way, literally bear crawling up the steep mountainside, but when I finally made it…
Silence. We were ‘lost’ in nature.
After about 15 minutes of marveling Mother Nature at our viewpoint, it was time to head back down the trail, and yep, you guessed it – we came to a juncture where we couldn’t recall which “road less traveled” we took off the main path and I didn’t leave a breadcrumb trail. Now I was really a Nervous Nelly!
I followed our friend Tony, who can bound down the mountainside like a gazelle, and was very confident that the trail was “just right over there.” It was steep, and my feet were sliding. My strategy was to follow his big footsteps and stay as low to the ground as possible, somewhat crouching bear crawl style. It worked. I was never more happy to be back on the main trail!
I led the way back down the trail, a few steps ahead of the pack, quietly acknowledging the “happy little trees”, singing birds and scurrying squirrels. It was the perfect time to connect with my inner self; to take notice of my breath, heartbeat and how I felt in that moment…
I am alive. I am free in nature. I am the captain of my soul.
Peace. Love. Namaste.