WPC: Experimental

** This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is “Experimental”. We were asked to provide images about an experimental experience. A couple weeks ago the school I work for had a teacher in-service day, which meant I didn’t have work and my boys who go to a different school did. I had a day to myself in the middle of the week. That is experimental in itself!

You can find all the entries for this week’s challenge, HERE.

The clouds are low in the sky, white fog envelopes my car as I wind my way north on Highway 101. It is just me and the view, no kids, no work, no husband. I got a later start than I would have liked but I told myself today, I am walking at the pace I need. On goes the music I only sing to when I’m alone in the car and as the first song begins so does the misty rain. I bring my warm tea into my hand, my backpack is next to me in the passenger seat and when I sing tears spring in a welcome release.

I have told my husband I am going walking in Fern Canyon, I turn off the road to begin the arduous last leg to get there and the road is closed. Well, I tell myself, I guess the adventure begins now. I left my cell phone at home, without meaning to, so I can’t tell him plans have changed.

And for the next 4 hours it was true, I was in charge of my own pace. With no watch or phone to remind me of the time.

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I found a scenic drive I’d never been on, which the road happened to be closed as well. So, I parked, collected my things and started walking the road. Not long after beginning I noticed a trail leading into the woods, so I veered off the road and walked the welcoming path. The redwoods were towering and silent. The misty air was thick and present. I felt a child-like smile on my face again and again as I walked, looked and listened.

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It had been a while since I raised my camera to my eye. But, the more I walked the slower I was. Everywhere I looked it looked better through my lens.

The ground was soft and a bit muddy, my shoes were keeping me from really grounding myself in this moment so off they came. The forest floor embraced my feet and IĀ  slowly and softly found a new rhythm and stride. I was not ready to put on my shoes when the trail got back to the road.

As I took a moment to clean my feet before putting my shoes and socks back on I noticed the trail continued through to the other side of the road. I was intrigued and found myself ready to wander again. This trail was steeper and interesting as well.

Soon, I was hungry and I found a redwood tree with a nice high perch. I climbed the ten feet up onto the tree’s exposed roots and made myself comfortable. The forest view was a lovely from above and so was the silence. Not long after I got comfortable a ground squirrel arrived below me. The squirrel and I ate lunch together, hummus turkey avocado sandwich for me and a pine cone for it.

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I realized I was close to water when the trees changed from redwoods to maples and aspens. The trail was thick in a coat of fallen fall colors and the sounds of my shoes walking through the muddy leaves reminded me of when I was a kid in the fall.

I soon saw a bridge leading me out of the woods and onto the road. I walked the road back to my car.

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When I started driving, my mind was swirling, my eyes were having a hard time adjusting to the blur of the trees past the window. I was moving too fast, too soon after spending such pace-present time in the forest. It took a while to get back in line with the Thoroughbred-pace of a car.

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11 comments

  1. This sounded like quite the solo adventure for you. Nothing like to have a day to yourself and spending it wondering through the depths of nature unknown šŸ™‚ It does look like a lovely path you stumbled across, and others must have discovered it before too – and left their love on the barks šŸ™‚ I hope the squirrel wasn’t jealous of your lunch. You came well prepared with it. It also sounds like the trails you took came full circle, leading you back our to the road as you mentioned. Usually if I am on a trail that I stumbled upon and after a while if I find that it goes straight on, I usually turn back so I know I won’t get lost.

    I also like to go on random walking adventures like this. Whenever I walk and hike around a new place, it is simply empowering. Like you, I take my camera along on walks and that always, always slows me down šŸ˜€ Great shots all round. Really enjoyed this post.

    1. Thank you, Mabel. I really appreciate that you took the time to read about my wanderings. Redwood National Park has many trails that wind and bend and there are signs offering some idea of where you are. I’m pretty good with knowing my direction but I will say, walking in the forest can be tricky since you don’t have clear views. Walking for this many hours that day really made me want to think about a solo backpacking trip. I enjoyed the experience very much! Have a beautiful day.

      1. Agree with you walking in the forest doesn’t have clear views. Sometimes the path can turn into a non-path so quickly too. At times, your surroundings might even look the same. Maybe one day you will live that solo backpacking trip. Never too late šŸ™‚

    1. I rarely take my shoes off anywhere, even the beach. But, something called me to take a leap and I am so glad I did. It was a liberating and grounding experience!

  2. Carrie, these are wonderful! Soothing and soft and ancient and full of beauty and atmosphere. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to visit and this was the perfect post for a quick visit.
    Super job!

    1. Thank you so much, Laurie. It has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here. Not sure why, just haven’t felt pulled to write. I’m so glad you came for a visit. So nice to hear from you! And as you describe my images, that is how this deep wise forest feels, every time I walk inside and explore. Redwoods are a wonder.

  3. What a lovely, lovely day; and it was so like my image of you when you took off your shoes to better experience the path. How wise of you to take a free day and use it to replenish your soul. And the photographs shared with me a glimpse of your day.

    1. It really was such a lovely day and I love that your image melded with reality! I couldn’t help but take off my shoes šŸ™‚ I enjoyed photographing and experiencing each moment as it arose. Such a beautiful refreshing way to spend a day-off. Thanks so much, Janet.

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