Healing In Nature


The hike to the top of the falls was alluring yet tiresome. My body began to feel as though it were long-distance running. On the way to the campsite I took a fall and immediately felt a sharp pain in my left knee. With two previous meniscus surgeries in the past, I was worried I was not going to be able to get back up. The look on my dog's face revealed the situation did not look promising, but to my disbelief, I was fine when I stood up; my body had rebounded. It was fear that kept me on the ground. When we reached the top, a platform with a fence overlooked the upper falls. A breeze lifted the moist air above us, and Sailor jumped up with both paws looking out at the horizon. We found a designated campsite next to a stream along the trail with a built-in fireplace, logs for sitting, and plenty of grassy areas to pitch a tent. I cooked Forever Young mac and cheese. As we ate dinner, a backpacker walked by, led by a German Shepard, who wore the same blue backpack as my dog, Sailor. I watched as she and her dog stopped, turning towards the campsite we were. The woman and I greeted each other, and then she continued walking southbound toward the falls. She must have been trying to set up camp for the night, and I wondered if I should have said something more to make her feel welcome to stay. I recognized this was another place of worry and overthinking that I was still actively working on rewiring my mind. Later that night, she passed by, and we exchanged the same interaction. I hope to cross paths with her again. The next day we woke around 8:30 am. I did not bring a watch and preferred to refer to my GPS for the time. Alarms may be essential to time management, but I found it helpful to rely on my body's communication on when to rest. The eagerness to listen to my body when I am hungry, tired, thirsty, hurting, or energized allowed me to reflect on trusting my senses and what I need. I boiled some water and made coffee. I journaled by the stream when I was not particularly hungry from last night's meal. While I packed up camp, I found Sailor sneaking into the tent and lying down on my sleeping pad.

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