Autumn Days

Autumn Days…..Meandering on the trail when the sun shines warm, or more of a walk/run when the wind blows and it is a bit chilly.  I love the sound of the leaves rustling under my boots as I move down the trail. Lately its been the crunching of snow that has appeared during the cold October we experienced. 

It’s that time of year, the days are getting shorter, the birds are heading south, and the cold feels so much colder.  The trees are turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red and losing their beauty to create a much needed carpet on the forest floor. Their earthy smell intoxicating – preparing us for the next season.  The cycle of seasons.

It feels good to be in the woods, even with the first snow of the season.  Snow is expected in the mountains, but shocking when it comes down as the autumn leaves are still clinging to the trees.

I love to see the flurry of snowflakes falling to the ground, slowly accumulating.  The stillness in the air, on the trail, and the complete stark feeling of solitude. A time to stop, a time to reflect.  Darkness will come earlier as the days get shorter. Time to put on that blaze orange, and head down the trail.


Autumn Leaves

Life most definitely does not take a planned route.  Sometimes we discover that we just don’t have time for all the things we love to do.   The summer unfolded as it usually does with lots of things to look forward to and put down on the calendar.

Several trails were hiked, huckleberries picked, kayak adventures on the lake, canal floats, nights spent in the tent, in the lookout, in a cabin, in the camper, friends and family out in nature. 

Now, the sun is slow to rise, the air is musty, the leaves are changing colors, nights are colder, days crisp.  Trails are less crowded. The best way to take it all in – lace up those hiking boots, grab a friend or go solo. Revel in nature, pursue that next adventure!  Happy Hiking!


McCart Lookout

Bucket List Backpack

Where did June go?  We are already into July. Somehow I got lost for days on end hiking as if nothing else mattered. These long, precious days are nothing to waste.  

No doubt that June held other delightful discoveries for me…nature journaling, lichen discovery, trail clearing, kayaking, hiking, and the bucket list backpack with other women.

Eight other brave and courageous women headed out with me for an overnight backpack.  It was only a three mile trek in, six mile roundtrip, but mercy! Mother nature surrounded us in everything from sleet to sunshine.  

The best news is we did it!  Nine women carrying their own tents, sleeping bags, stoves, water purifiers, various and abundant other “needs”.  It was quite an undertaking for all. 

 After strapping on my backpack, I soon realized I’m not the hiking machine I once was.  My joints and shoulders were in discontent. Seems like we may need another lesson on “ultralight”. 

Our camp was perfect, the waterfall amazing, the wildflowers blanketing the hillside, and the company, well, what can I say?  Nine women enjoying the outdoors together accomplishing more than we had ever imagined!   

And so June mysteriously disappeared as trails were hiked and cleared, flowers identified, bucket list items fulfilled.  It’s not where you take the trail, it’s where the trail takes you. Happy Hiking!


Lake Como Backpack Trip

Spring Symphony

“The mountains are calling and I must go!” This well known quote by John Muir sums up my past few weeks. The spring “Women In The Wilderness” classes ended this week with some amazing hikes, a plethora of wildflowers, class on bees/pollinators, and friendships among women that will be treasured for a long time.

These springtime hikes have given me just what I needed! Songbirds rejoicing in the season, tumultuous creeks creating a symphony of song as the treetops sway in the vigorous wind.

Wildflowers are abundant along the hillsides, creekbeds, and meadows. Their beauty is beyond compare and a palette of color for the eye. Don’t wait! Get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer!

Bitterroot Valley Hiking Classes

Check out the July schedule……

One is an evening class, one is a morning class. Hope to see many of you!

https://www.heartofthevalleyadulted.org/summer-class-schedule

Hiking 4 Health….If you are ready to hit the trail, unplug from the daily grind, refocus and re-energize this is the class for you.  Take a break from your routine, change your surroundings and test your tenacity. Hikes will range from moderately easy to moderately strenuous.  Please be aware of your capabilities.

Tuesdays, July 9-30 5:30 – 8:30 pm or Wednesdays, July 10-31 8:30 – 11:30 am


Wandering

I am beginning to be fluent in silence.  These past few months I have spent more time on the trail then off.  I love it! There is something that makes my heart sing while I am wandering in the woods.  The exquisite beauty of the wildflowers, freshness of air during a spring rain, seeing the artistry in nature is sometimes beyond my comprehension.  


This last week I’ve spent on seven different trails each offering a sense of oneness with nature and an adventure in solitude.  Someone once said a hike is for your mind, a walk for your body and a wander for your soul. I agree…..inner turmoil seems to take a backseat when you are surrounded by beauty and you need to watch each step.

Spring is upon us, the weather changes, birdsong is at its peak, animals awaken and begin their flirtatious dance, wildflowers are bursting with color.  It is a symphony for your senses. Step outside kindred spirit – it’s time to wander!

Waterfall Wandering


Nature Therapy

The snow is finally melting, and my feet are touching bare ground cushioned with the pine needles of a long, wet, and cold Winter.  The smells of the forest mixed with pine scent and dank, dark earth gave me a sense of calmness.

Near the creek, I settled down on an inviting rock, dropped my backpack and got out my nature journal.   The forest was full of sound. The pygmy nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, chickadees, the soft breeze thru the trees, and loud rush of snowmelt in the creek produced a symphony of nature. I sat in awe of my surroundings.

 A couple of hours later, with some sketches laid out in my journal, a simple lunch and ginger tea long gone, I heaved up the backpack and started back. Once again, a few hours in the woods comforted my soul. Nature provided the inspiration I needed.    Happy Hiking!

Lake Como Falls
Favorite of mine!
Sagebrush Buttercup

Transformation

It is a great week! The “Women In The Wilderness”  classes have started. There are over 60 amazing women joining me in this spring adventure.  

The naturalist class is learning the basics of the Wilderness Act,  forest ecology, plants, flowers, birds, amphibians, bees/pollinators and learning how to keep a nature journal.  Listening and observing while exploring our beautiful Montana landscape can only be described as inspiring.

Our adventurous hiking classes will learn new skills in bear awareness, navigation, leave no trace principles, gear and pack essentials and wilderness survival while challenging themselves out on the trail.

One of the greater problems we are facing this Spring is finding a trail we can get to.  The snowpack, and consequential melting have left us impassable roads, closed trailheads, and muddy trails!  

The weather forecast for our first hike was rain and snow.  Lucky for us, we only had a few sprinkles. The trail was a bit wet and muddy, the forest smells intoxicating, the signs of Spring everywhere around us.  The gentle transformation from the dark days of Winter to the verdures of Spring are impressive. Don’t miss them!

Nature connects us all on such a deep level. The joys of being outside in the transformation of seasons is astonishing. We tend to put things off in life for many unknown reasons.  Take some time for yourself! I urge you to get outside and be nurtured by nature.

Your choice, your journey, get out there!


Soft Rock
First Hike
2019 Women In The Wilderness I