I arrived at the forest around 10 am. I would later discover this time was comparable to the third bowl of porridge that Goldilocks tasted-not too hot, and not too cold. This arrival time was not too early, and not too late.
Arriving at 10am meant there were other cars in the lot, but still a few spaces left. The parking is minimal here, and although I wouldn’t mind parking on the street, I do enjoy securing a space within the confines of an area where fast moving cars cannot nick the side of my vehicle. Other cars in the lot meant there were other people exploring the woods, which is a comforting sign for a solo adventurer.
Cars in the lot, but a space left for me. Not too hot, not too cold.
I’d not yet explored this forest, but upon my arrival I was immediately overcome with feelings. Feelings of joy, feelings of excitement, feelings of energy, feelings of adventure. How had I lived so close to this forest, yet never stepped foot on its soil?
These woods provided the illusion of being deep within the heart of a forest nestled below the mountains, but with a close proximity to the nearby roads. A common fear of solo adventurers is being so secluded that if something were to happen no one would know. These woods engulfed my being, but provided the comfort of safety should I need it.
I arrived at the forest planning to walk, but the abundance of energy I received provoked me to run. Not hard, and not far, a simple thirty minutes which turned out to be one of the best runs I have had in a long time. The depths of the forest has a way of slowing down time. I didn’t focus on pace, I didn’t focus on distance, I simply focused on movement. What felt good, what didn’t? Time moved quickly and slowly all at the same time.
The trails of dirt wove in and out of each other, reminding me of my childhood reading. I used to read books that allowed me to choose my own ending. “Go to pg. 167 for this kind of ending, or go to pg. 285 for this kind.” It allowed me to read and reread these books with a new story each time. The paths of this forest gave options that allowed me to cross similar paths from different angles, providing the continued illusion that this forest was larger than it really was.
I crossed paths with a few people, but there was so much space between us all that it was easy to feel alone. My favorite. This came in handy for me when my run took a turn for the worse. Everything felt great, but I had consumed a beautifully balanced cup of coffee before arriving at the trail. I gave no extra thought to this decision as I allowed the full bodied notes of cocoa and nuts slide off my tongue. It was a harmony of flavor I tend to get lost in.
It had been a while since coffee and running decided to scheme against me, but on this day they had.
There I was in the heart of this forest, with nothing but my car keys and a sense of endearment for my surroundings when the stomach discomfort hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no where to go but deeper among the trees. I prayed that the corner of earth I chose to stake claim of would provide me with enough privacy to release the demon within my gut.
Runners trots are no joke my friends, there is no shame in this game.
I grew a new appreciation for ferns this day, we bonded on a level I hope never to bond with them on again. I can still feel the spores on my skin. I left a piece of me in the forest that day, and we are tied together in a way I’ll remember forever. Thankfully for the forest, ferns have the ability to absorb pollution. I love plants.
Post expulsion I wandered the woods for another hour before calling it quits. I came upon abandoned sheds, the above tiny house nestled in the bushes, trails I didn’t get time to step foot on yet, and the below viewpoint. As I approached my car, others were waiting to claim my spot. Others had arrived to partake on their own adventure, I wondered if theirs would be similar to mine.
I look forward to my next adventure in the Grand Forest, the trees and winding paths quickly became a local favorite, but next time I think I’ll finish my coffee before I leave.
Q: Have you ever become one with the forest this way? Insert the *laughing with tears* emoji.