I am a guest blogger on aMINDmedia.com today! Go check out my article here. I hope you enjoy it!
In other news, I am still up in Wrigley, enjoying my northern experience! Each weekend, my roommate and I go out for a hike. Last week, we walked along the river towards the airport and then climbed the high bank up to the plateau. It was pretty steep, but fun. The forest was so beautiful, with the trees all covered in snow, standing like sentinels, guarding the Earth. Very cool. The scenery was almost black-and-white, except for muted pinks and purples as the sun sank down and the pale green of old man’s beard hanging on the trees.
I’ve been suffering from a bit of cabin fever lately… so last week, I decided it was time for an outing. Besides, this blog has had a lot of mental adventures lately, and no physical ones.
So, I picked the day — I had good weather — and planned the outing. I was going to walk the skidoo trails near town, towards the west, and see how far I could go. I got underway a bit later than I had hoped, so I only hit the trail around noon. I told my honey not to look for me until 7 pm. He was surprised I would be gone so long, but I really needed to spend some time in the bush, away from “it all,” with lots of quiet and time to think.
It was pretty easy going, at first. The trail was pretty well-travelled (by machines, not people on foot). Besides skidoo tracks, there were many wildlife tracks, which I tried to identify, of course. There were a lot of startling large paw prints; if it was feline, it had to be a cougar! But I realized that it was probably canine — wolf tracks. I suppose it could have been dog tracks, if someone had brought their dog skidooing, but judging by how many tracks I saw — it went on for miles — if probably wasn’t. So that was fun! I was sharing the trail with a pack of wolves, some of which were huge. Awesome. I also saw smaller, presumably coyote tracks, rabbit, mice and some very strange tracks (see below).
Neat, eh? Bird tracks, or more specifically, marks in the snow from wing downbeats, an owl perhaps! That was neat, and I saw it a couple of times. I also saw bird feet tracks, from birds walking. Not sure if they would be grouse or another ground bird (probably) or ravens. Ravens walk a bit, but I think they prefer to fly. I saw a few that day, and also heard and saw chickadees. Other than that, it was pretty quiet, especially once I got farther from the highway. Lots of quiet time to think and enjoy the fresh air.
It gave me time to think about my future, and my priorities. I’d been a bit grumpy lately, so I had a chance to get that out. I may have to find a new job, or start my own business, so I thought quite a bit about that. I stayed in the present moment pretty well, so my memories of that day are very clear. The sky was such a beautiful blue… and trees crisp and creaky. I know it sounds weird, but they were!
I walked for 2 hours along the trail, then decided I was tired enough I should head back. My legs were starting to hurt a bit, but I thought I’d be fine. I had stopped a few times, had drinks and snacks, but had kept on pretty steadily. On the return trip, my legs (hip flexors) started to really hurt, and at one point, I felt both my hips dislocate ever so briefly! Yikes. So I took a few more breaks, did a little stretching (hence the title of this post) and took my time. I am not sure if the snow was getting softer (it was pretty warm out) or my legs getting tireder, but the walking was harder. By the time I got back to my car, I was in pretty bad shape! I couldn’t lift my legs more than a couple of inches and they hurt like heck! My lower back was also hurting quite a bit.
I ran a few errands around town, and then went home and took it easy that night. I saw my chiropractor and had a hot bath loaded with epsom salts, and the combination enabled me to feel fine the next day. My legs were a little tired and my hip flexors a little sore, but I could walk and do stairs (important for me to get to work)! In the past, my muscles have taken so long to recover from exercise that I was pleasantly surprised how well I felt the next day! I was completely back to normal the second day after.
I am so glad I did that hike (11 km altogether)… it was just what I needed. So let me encourage you — if you are feeling the need for some self-care, exercise, a change of scenery or a change of pace, do it! Listen to your body; if one part of you is trying to tell another part of you something, don’t ignore it! That would be just plain silly.