Day 1,973 – Thankful for Hiking Previously Undiscovered Trails on an Unseasonably Warm Day

On any given Sunday we can usually be found hiking in one of our four or five favorite state parks or hiking areas. Even though there are so many trails to choose from we seem to have hiked them all several times. As luck would have it, we’ve obviously missed a trail or two along the way!

Today the parking lot for our normal hike in Twin Bluffs State Park was full so we figured we’d drive to the end of the road and take a different route. At the end of the road our jaws kind of dropped a bit as we realized that there were more trails back here than we knew, and most of them had some spectacular views of the Mississippi River Valley much of the way.

We spent the next couple of hours making our way through trails we’d never been on before and enjoyed some epic driftless area scenery we hadn’t seen before. It was like we had found a whole new park to hike in – and we didn’t even get through all of it! Now we’ve got a good 10+ miles of future hiking and running trails to enjoy only 10 minutes or so from our house. Not too shabby!

Throw in some sun and extra warm weather and we had an awesome time hiking as a family – minus one Dominic who was attending a Scout function. Gotta love getting these hikes in when it is almost 50 in the winter, they remind me that Spring is just around the corner!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,873 – Thankful for Walking Meditation and Stillness in the Woods

Rather than boarding a flight to an ocean beach I was wandering the woods in the snow. Quite the contrast, right? I was exactly where I should be.

Becky and I spent most of our morning at Pike’s Peak outside of MacGregor, Iowa. Due to the cold weather and snowfall we were amongst the few in the entire park. Once we were more than 100 yards from the observation area we never saw another soul.

I drew in breaths of fresh autumn air through my nose and concentrated on soaking in each exquisite little detail of the sights and sensations around me. The bright red leaves and even more scarlet berries of one type of plant. The drops of water resting on the waxy underside of oak leaves. Each little “brick” in the elaborate lattice work of the limestone rock outcroppings. The sensation of the cool winter-ish breeze and snow rushing against my face and tickling the hairs of my beard. The lighting of the woods shifting and transforming as the sun danced amongst the clouds. The music of Becky’s voice as we shared our joys of the wilderness. Each step. Each breath. Each individual second. Pure magic, pure joy.

Our morning was spent in a walking meditation in the stillness of the woods. Exactly where I was called to be in those moments.

If this were my last day I would go peacefully, full of joy, fully satisfied, and with a heart full of love. Today I have lived.

Thanks!!!