The leaves are truly leaf-ing. See what I did there? I know I am so punny.
(Actually for real puns, refer here.)
My lady, my baby dog and I ventured out for CHILLY hike this Sunday and it’s officially official, leaf season is over.
Although we’ve got about six more weeks until the winter solstice, once the leaves are gone, the brain turns to Christmas and Netflix binges. This fall has been so rainy, I feel like we missed out on some enjoyment, which honestly sucks. Thankfully, we did get a camping trip in the weekend before Halloween when the leaves were at their prime.
This past weekend, though, winter was in the air and the leaves were all but gone. Once you get up on the Parkway, it’s at least a few degrees cooler than it is in Asheville, and as you climb, the temperatures just keep dropping. Those naked trees really let the wind through, and it can get pretty eerie up there with all the crackling of branches. For a Sunday, I couldn’t believe how desolate the trail was. In total, we saw four other people, not counting the requisite engagement shoot.
The best thing about hiking in the “winter” is that the air is so clear. This particular hike doesn’t lend itself to long range photography, but winter hikes have a special feeling about them. The air is free of plant matter and pollen, allowing you to see much further than during the summer. The air just feels so refreshing, it’s like jumping in a mountain spring.
The most epic part was this rock wall leading up to the trailhead that was essentially raining. We spent a good while just listening, trying to identify where the sound of each little drop originated, noticing the unique patterns as they joined together. We stuck our fingers in moss-filled knots in the huge forest full of rhododendrons. We studied the patterns the leafless branches make, like clouds in the sky, antelopes and rabbits, old men and coffee cups.
I believe most of us do our best reflection in Nature, and a quiet, wintery hike is especially perfect for such thoughts and dreams. All it takes is a little perspective of the vast world around us to bring our little moneky brains back to earth. The hard part is capturing that feeling and sustaining it once the real world becomes real again. Ya know? That’s the work, as my old yoga teacher would say.
Nature truly served its purpose this weekend, and it felt damn good.