What did you folks do on Easter Sunday? Lots of people probably went to church services and then had a great family meal together. Sharing time together is always great. My wife and I decided to get out after Easter Sunday service to do something together totally nourishing…. not the traditional family meal though. We packed a light bag and took off for a hike.
Easter is a spiritually enriching day for us. Taking a short hike made this day even more fulfilling. We got in the car and took a short drive to a very remote trailhead and in minutes there we were, out in the remote wilderness with our two dogs about to hike up to a beautiful waterfall. Hiking on a holiday is a great time to explore nature.
Weekend Holidays In the Woods – Why Not?
I absolutely love hiking on a holiday. Short hikes on the weekend are fun and always refreshing. Our Easter hike was to a remote area up here in western North Carolina to visit a favorite waterfall but there was easy access off a fire road. I’m confident that there are plenty of state parks and established trails that you can explore on a weekend. Whether you prefer to go along the beaches, through the dense forest or up a mountain trail, everyone can find their special somewhere.
Today, the sun was out, the temperature was perfect and the wilderness was captivating, quiet and peaceful. When we set off, we were eager for the experience – and the exercise. Even our two dogs were excited. They had their leases on and were polite and mindful along the trail. Like us, they were curious about all the sounds and smells of the forest.
We passed a few couples going up and coming back down and the dogs were respectful. One elderly couple was from out of state and they were really happy to have made the trip. When we reached the waterfall, we sat for a time and enjoyed a light snack. We took some pictures and simply enjoyed being out in nature.
Weekend holidays were made for relaxation. I can think of no other places I would rather be on a day off than out in the wilderness among the trees, plants, waterfalls and vastness of nature. It brings a sense of peace and comfort and offers me a sense of exploration and learning. I prefer to spend my down time on the trails, and I know that my wife enjoys that as well. Certainly, the dogs like it. They can’t wait to get into the truck and head out.
Wilderness, Waterfalls and Wonders!
We seem to favor hiking up into areas where there are majestic waterfalls and the remote wilderness areas seem to attract us more than the popular, well-traveled trails. Regardless of where we go, our expectations for the adventure are always the same. We are never disappointed at the wonders’ of nature. Whether we are hiking along new trails or venturing back to our favorite waterfalls, there is always something new and rewarding for our time.
The wideness holds such special feeling. I don’t believe anyone could take a hike to a beautiful waterfall and not be moved by its wonders. The thundering water rushing down a rock face is incredible. The bigger waterfalls exhibit a sound and visual experience that absolutely captivates me. Whether it’s a stream or pounding water pouring over the rock face, the flow of water creates an atmosphere of sheer delight.
Where To Go – Does It Realy Matter?
Friends and other folks are always asking us where we go on our hikes. Up here in Western North Carolina, there are no places we think of that don’t have hiking trails. Some are a bit more challenging than others, but they all hold something special for the beginner or experienced hiker. We have never been disappointed when we venture out on a day hike. Whether it is at the state park along well-traveled trails or in remote areas, like the one we visited this Easter, hiking to explore new things and flush out the anxieties of the week is very rewarding and nourishing for the soul.
If you enjoy the beach and the ocean, there are plenty of state parks that offer hiking trail experiences. If you would rather discover the inspiring vistas of a mountain escape, there are plenty of those as well. Some people enjoy American history and they tend to travel along scripted hiking tours through historical parks like the Gettysburg Battlegrounds or other civil war sites.
For the adventurous, the remote trails offer the most excitement. There are always new things to see and experience when venturing into the wilderness. Taking a little time to search out these areas will pay great dividends. If you have a laptop, you can certainly Google search hiking trails in your area. It’s’s amazing how much wilderness has been explored and how many trails exist. You may want to search out local hiking clubs. They have a wealth of local knowledge and can provide a lot of help for you.
The Rewards Of Hiking – Beyond The Physical!
Obviously there are tons of reasons to get out and go on a hike. Most studies will point out the physical attributes like getting stronger, lowering blood pressure, reliving anxiety, changing your outlook and perspectives, improving your sleep and probably hundreds of others. These all are terrific reasons to go out into the wilderness for a day, or longer if you prefer. But for me, and many others, there is one unique and special benefit that might not be so obvious. There is a spiritual component to hiking in nature…. a special connection with the almighty and one’s inner being.
Hiking is a personal journey of discovery. It’s about the discovery of nature and oneself. So, does it really mater where you go? Getting out and experiencing new things outside of your comfort zone is exhilarating. The personal benefits of simply being in nature cannot be overstated. Take some time to look into the local areas, and some not so local and make a day of it. Get out and hike a new trail every chance you get. Record the journey with pictures so you can recall what you experienced. You will likely return to your favorite spots often, like we.
Hiking on a holiday, like Easter Sunday creates an opportunity to connect with your inner most consciousness and spirit. You can’t help but wonder at God’s creation. Hiking along a trail provides you the opportunity to clear your mind and release the anxieties that have crowded your mind for a time. Relieving anxiety and depression through a special communion with nature and God bring you a sense of balance and wellness far beyond the physical. I have had times when my spiritual life has suffered because of the overcrowding of my daily routine and concerns for the obligations I encounter. I sometime loose sight of my genuine purpose and myself. Hiking along a remote trail, or to a spectacular mountain vista or up to a wonderful waterfall helps me regain that spiritual connection. It grounds me.
Hiking kind of forces you to live in the moment and be present to the wonders of nature God created. You connect with nature. You experience and appreciate the beauty and wonders all around you. Taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of nature helps to calm your mind and soul. Hiking along a wilderness trail engages all of your being. Your senses come alive and you experience the thrills and wonders of things you may never have felt before. The true sense of being connected with God cannot be over emphasized. Even someone who does not believe cannot help but be fascinated at the creation all around them.
Hiking can provide you with the quiet time you must have to meditate and breathe. Lots of folks like to say their daily prayers or offer devotions while they walk. This concentration on the spiritual brings them closer to self and to God and helps them feel more connected to creation. You suddenly find yourself not taking everything for granted any longer. You are immersed in the wonders of God’s creation and you can’t resist being awe inspired by all the things surrounding you.
When you return home, you will re-enter your daily life. But, you will be less stressed, less anxious and far happier than before you left. A lot of those things that bothered you will seem much less challenging. Your personal devotions and your spiritual connections will be enhanced. A real spiritual benefit is your rediscovering and understanding more of who you are and why you are here. Hiking nourishes your soul in so many ways. Hiking is not just a physical exercise, but a truly spiritual enlightenment that will attract you to return over and over again just for the spiritual benefits. Feed your soul, ease your mind, relive your stress and be at peace with the world, the family the job and most of al, yourself! So get out onto the trail and be fulfilled. You’ll be glad you did.
What’s Holding You Back.
Do you need a break from the daily routine and stresses of your daily life? Do you want to connect more deeply with your self and God? Do you have troubles that are devouring your every waking moment? Use the next holiday to go out and get on the trail. Instead of staying at home and watching TV, take a hike on the holiday and discover the greatest benefits that nature holds in store for you. You will be renewed, grounded and find a lasting balance that will certainly bring you an inner peace and better prepare you to face the challenges that you confront daily in your life. There is nothing holding you back.
See you along the trails.