Walking in the Woods
Yesterday Angus and I took a jaunt up Hillside and hiked (strolled really) for a couple of hours. There has never been a more beautiful late Summer day. We started out at the Upper O’Malley trail head and walked along Gasline Trail (a maintenance road) to Hemlock Knob. From there I’m not quite sure where we went but we ended up a ways down from the Upper Huffman trail head. I was a little leery about bears but we only saw one pile of evidence that a bear was present. Otherwise the most dangerous creatures we saw were squirrels. They didn’t get terribly aggressive.
Chugach State Park is an amazing asset for Anchorage and we (meaning John and I) don’t take advantage of it at all. The variety of trails, the views, the accessibility are something that any city dweller might dream of. But to me there is another dynamic. I grew up with 22 wooded acres for my backyard. The woods were my sanctuary from a turbulent home life and I would walk for hours, write bad poetry and enjoy the absolute peace that the woods had to offer. I think it would be fair to say that the woods probably saved my life, or at least my sanity.
Yesterday, as we walked through the well-kept footpath of Hemlock Knob I experienced that sense of peace, of being 100% present. Suddenly there was nothing nagging at me. I didn’t feel like I should be doing something else. I wasn’t making a list in my head. I didn’t answer my phone when it rang.
The thoughts that rush (sometimes quite painfully) around my head were momentarily vaporized. There was no worrying about Mother. There was no keeping up with Twitter. There was no last-minute project. There was just me and Angus. Walking.