My lungs burned and my legs ached, just 30 more steps, I told myself. I was staring up a steep hill that led to a familiar viewpoint. On a clear day you can see all the way to Mt. Baker, but not today. This was a rainy spring afternoon in the sleepy town of Bellingham and the forest was awfully inviting. It wasn’t a far away rugged adventure, but during these times, you have to be thankful for the opportunities right outside your doorstep.
Everything started off pleasant enough, the ferns were unfurling, Trillium were blooming, and the drab forest floor had transformed into a lush green paradise. Adding to the ambiance was the pitter patter of raindrops hitting the leaves and birds whistling away. I’ve done this hike probably 40 times, but I still enjoy it like it’s the first. The trail is wide and not nearly as crowded as other trails in the area, making those 6 ft social distancing requirements easier to follow.
As I neared the top, I could tell I was out of shape. I’d been sidelined by a nagging cold the last month and didn’t want to take any chances pushing my body. Plus, the short cold days of winter made me a little more sedentary than I’d like to admit. I was shaking the rust off and earning my way back into mountain shape. Eventually the slog ended with a few labored breaths. I sat exposed on a rocky outcropping with the wind and rain hitting my face as I huddled under an umbrella. I took in what little views I had of clouds drifting above the tree tops and tried to enjoy the moment.
Life is far from ideal, but for most of us, things aren’t too bad. Getting out for a hike helps me quiet all the chatter in my head and live in the moment. Days like this make me so grateful to live where I do, I know you may not be as lucky to have trails nearby, but staring up at a big oak tree in your local park can give you the same sense of presence.
Snapping back to reality, it was time to head down the trail. I did my best to keep my camera gear dry and go easy on my knees that surely wouldn’t be happy with me later. The coronavirus may have taken over the news cycle and sent ripples throughout society, but nature couldn’t care less. It’s just a normal spring day in the woods.