One thing I asked to do while we were in Colorado visiting my in-loves was to go on a wildflower hike. MIL picked a route she likes, which circles a pretty mountain lake and offers plenty in the way of blooming plants. You can come along, and you won’t even need a water bottle or an oxygen tank. (I needed both–at least I had the water!)
Here we are at the outset. A volunteer from the trailhead took our photo, and while we posed a passing fisherman offered to take “our” picture, thinking the volunteer was part of our group. They’re a friendly bunch up in the rarefied air.
Here’s a glimpse of our hike’s small wonders. Click on any you’d like to see larger and they’ll open at full size. If you hover over any of these, you will probably notice that I don’t have a clue what some of them are called. Feel free to set me straight if “white blossom” is too unscientific for you! (Thanks to MIL for helping me identify several of the ones that happen to have their proper names listed.)
Along the way we saw more than flowers. We glimpsed two feeding moose–thankfully they were across a river from us. Doesn’t make for the greatest photos…
…but at least we didn’t have to run for our lives. This sign advises that if a moose charges you, you should
refuse to pay* “run as fast as you can and put something between you and the moose (tree, car, large rock, etc.).” I’m relieved it didn’t come to that. *Special thanks to anyone who a.) got that joke b.) laughed–or even groaned; I’ll take a groan.
When we weren’t avoiding close encounters with dangerous mammals, we were basking in the beauty of nature. I could have spent hours enjoying the layers of loveliness there: the soft, distinctive fragrance of pine trees; the sound of water burbling over rocks; and the sudden changes in temperature as morning storms built and burst.
All these things reminded me of childhood camping trips, which I often complained about as a child. Finally, as an adult, I understand my parents’ impulse to leave the frenzy of “civilization” for the serenity of mountain campsites. Replete with their own noises, they somehow seem so much quieter than life down low.
Such places offer themselves for solitude, yet encourage camaraderie: uniting people who love landscapes, value invigorating hikes, and pause to photograph wildflowers. They shamelessly allow their streams to cross your path. They expose their smooth stones as resting places.
They provide little in the way of modern luxury, yet that little is all a person needs to discover the ultimate luxury of stillness, which for me meant soaking my dusty feet in melted snow, allowing my mind to wander past the green of the ferns and the blue of the sky to a quiet place where my heartbeat slowed down, my muscles relaxed, and I remembered anew how little it takes to equal “enough.”
Where do you find that sort of peace? Have you made your escape lately?