Although the official first day of winter was this week, amazingly we had a few days where it was in the sixties. How could I not take advantage of the weather and go for a hike? I decided to venture across the border into West Virginia this time, because why limit myself to PA State Parks only?
I left early in the morning, while the fog was still around, making the hike a little chilly and damp, but quiet and dreamy-like all at the same time. On the advice of a ranger, I choose a hike that followed a river. On the way out I was on top of a cliff looking down at the river gorge, but still able to hear the constant running of the water. As I looped around, I got the opportunity to walk even with the river and experience the foggy bottom of the gorge firsthand. Although I felt the hike go by fast, it lasted well over an hour. This to me is a sign of great time spent outdoors. I loved the constant water trickling throughout the entirety of the hike, and being enveloped in the morning mists of the season.
I ran into a little trouble towards the end of the hike, as I couldn’t find the path to cross the river to finish out the trail. I tried to walk along the upper back, but had no footing so I decided to blaze my own bridge and walk across a natural rock crossing. I’m sure I looked like a slapstick comedy routine slipping and sliding, until finally giving up and just walking in the river, getting my shoes, socks and pants sopping wet. Why not? It wasn’t too cold and what’s the harm in getting wet. I drove home in bare feet, but it was fun nonetheless.
This hike was also different for another reason. I actually didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts. As I started the walk I kept thinking back to my dream the night before. It was more like a nightmare, and all I wanted was to forget about it. Unfortunately, my mind was down that path already so when I tried to put it out of my mind other worries and negative thoughts entered my mind. It took the majority of the hike to get my mind clear, but luckily it did. Which, when I think about it, can be the purpose of taking a walk in the woods. To clear the mind and find some peace.