Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
~ Louis L'Amour
This quote came to me a few months back by way of the Sierra Club's Daily Ray of Hope e-mails, and I tucked it away, figuring it might be a good sentiment to ponder on a Nature Nerd Wednesday such as today. I think we all can relate to those words, whether taken literally in regard to hiking, or applied to life in general.

Hiking is one small way I've been able apply this "enjoy the journey" mindset to real life. I hike slowly. I stop and take lots of pictures. I listen to the birds. I pick berries. I unsuccessfully try to make friends with bunnies and other cute furry things by following them with outstretched hand and making kissy noises. I identify as many plants and trees as I can. I lean over streams and trail my fingers in the water to investigate the temperature. I hike in the rain and revel in the soggy scenery despite the cold drops running down my neck and soaking my pants, because even if it's not fun, it's still a moment. Still part of the journey.

I've found that my leisurely hiking pace and frequent photo breaks have yielded an interesting collection of surprisingly lovely images of probably the most mundane subject: the ground. On nearly every hike, somewhere along the way, I've taken photographs of the ground, whether rocky shoreline or damp forest floor. Many of these hikes had stunning destinations at the end of the trail, but noticing the sights along the trail itself - those trivial scenes right beneath our feet that so many of us pass by in our single-minded determination to reach the end goal - are what cumulatively make the entire journey a rich, memorable, and fulfilling experience.

Here's my unintentional photo project to that end:

Cedar Butte
Rockport State Park
Redmond Watershed Preserve
Saint Edward State Park
Saint Edward State Park
Snow Lake
Ebey's Landing, Whidbey Island
Saint Edward State Park
Beach along Saratoga Passage, Whidbey Island

Taking the time to examine, explore, and engage with the details emerging along the way seems to help slow the all-too-rapid passage of time, and definitely lends credence to the idea that although the destination might be amazing, the trail really is "the thing."


  1. Love this! I, too, take shots of the ground quite often - the way leaves fall and land, pretty rocks, etc. And your descriptions are so soothing, took me right to a quiet trail on a misty day. Like an antidote for stress. Happy trails!

    1. Thanks Jill! I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my affinity for taking photos of the ground! I always wonder what other hikers must be thinking when they pass me on the trail and I have my camera pointed toward my feet, snapping away. ;)