Connecting with Mother Nature
In a previous post about gratitude, I talked a little bit about appreciating the world around you as a form of self-care, and what better way to achieve this than by taking some time out of mother nature. Appreciating and reveling in the beauty that is Mother Nature is something I have been trying to engage in more, often because it’s very cheap to do, or even free. Walking through your local park or botanical gardens, breathing in the crisp, fresh air and listening to the sounds of the world around you.
A couple of weeks ago, for me, this practice looked like a frantic last minute agreement to go camping/hiking at Mt. Whitney. I did tell you all, I’m trying to agree with trying new things and new self-care activities, so why not camping, right? What better way to immerse yourself in and appreciate mother nature, than to camp on a mountainside for three days? Now, because we agreed to go last minute, this meant a lot of borrowing of gear and hoping we would just manage to make it through since we weren’t going to be summiting the mountain, but instead participate in the smaller hikes, and head home early.
The minute we arrived, I think I was in heaven. We were set up right next to a babbling river, surrounded by pine trees, and the mountains behind us were glowing with the sunset. Best thing? No cell phone reception. If you haven’t read my article on Travel and Unplug, you can get a better idea of where I stand when it comes to stepping away from our technology when traveling or vacationing, and why it’s so important to be present in what is around you.
Night one was spent at the campsite, gathered around the fire chowing down on foil fajitas and looking in awe at the stars as the Milky Way rose above us. I will admit, my mindfulness and some of that positivity drifted off as I found myself unable to sleep in the cold and on the ground that night, but I managed to get enough sleep to reign the positivity back in the next morning. After breakfast, we had a 3-mile hike planned to a little lake part way up the mountain. As we began, I kept a close eye on my Fitbit and made sure I was getting that step count in, and as the miles added up, I noticed our hike was long past three miles, and was instead eight. What surprised me most, is I found myself not caring a bit. I was so in awe of the beautiful landscapes surrounding me that I could have hiked that mountain all day (this might be a slight exaggeration) and would have been busy being stunned by the beauty of it all and not cared a drop about the miles passing beneath my feet.
When we arrived at the lake, we all promptly took over a flat rock and napped in the sun like cozy cats as we recovered from our uphill trek. We snapped some photographs, watched others leap into the cold lake, none of us daring to join them, and laughed amongst ourselves about the hike up, crossing rivers, and the woefully unprepared. We were, all of us, present in that moment, distraction free, and enjoying one another completely. These days experiences like that are rare, and I very few things more than moments like that. Surrounded by the beauty of nature, with friends and loved ones, in awe of the world around us.
This trip was so inspirational to me, it’s sparked a bit of a camping bug in me, and I’m already off and planning my next trip and ready to explore and embrace mother nature again. I’ve been doing a lot of research on west coast camping spots, cheap camping, backpacking, camping gear, camp kitchens, camp meals, everything under the sun that I can get my little hands on. So far this has been an inspirational experience, and I am certain I’ve found a new self-care hobby, and a way to recharge and reconnect with myself, my relationships, and nature.
Unfortunately, Amelia is not nearly as pleased as I am, as she is not able to join us. I, however, firmly believe she enjoys having the apartment to herself for a couple of days at a time and uses that as her own time to recharge and reconnect with her inner kitten.
Until next time, take care of yourselves!
Kat & Amelia