Walking Alone with Nature

This past weekend, I desperately needed to breakaway from the walls of my house. I can be a slave to my computer if I allow myself. My back aches from all the sitting I do. It was high time I stretched my legs. I pleaded with my family to join me on a walk to see a waterfall. They declined. I know, right? Apparently, they are all addicted to their devices.

I threw a fit. I was exasperated that they still didn’t want to join me, hardly in the mood for a nature walk, but I decided to go anyway.

So my journey begins. Alone. I ventured forth to the Hidden Falls Regional Park just outside Auburn, California. I took the Poppy Trail along with many other park visitors. Hidden Falls proved to be popular destination.

Shortly after arriving at the Hidden Falls Regional park, after calming myself, I sent my family this picture:

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 050
Late afternoon and the weather was perfect. California is green for a very short period of time.

I was going to attach a spiteful message like, “Wish you were here.” It was “not delivered,” as cell phone access is limited. I suppose that was the whole point of being here, was it not?

Although these photos appear to be quiet and calm, I’m only fooling you. I was hardly alone. These trails were bursting with activity. Families, couples, all had the same idea I did: to spend time with nature. Just you and the trees. Ahem. I had to pause for people to pass to snap photos of isolated stillness.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 062
Oh, which path to take? The many visitors steered me on the right course.

Many walked dogs; big dogs, little dogs, dogs in little, pink jackets, moving their little legs up the hills quite speedily. I thought, if a dog can do it, surely my kids can. Sorry, I have no video to show you.

I considered getting a dog. I considered renaming my blog name to “The Lonesome Traveler.”

I only counted two other people who walked alone among the various groups; one was a runner, the other, walking with sticks. So, both were utilitarian, walking with purpose. Not like me, aimless and taking photos.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 060
There’s me now (my shadow) snapping a photo of the water that I will eventually see fall.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind spending time alone. I rather enjoy it. I had wanted a family outing. As it turns out, spending time alone was exactly what I needed.

Could the light be more perfect?
Could the light be more perfect?

I can go at my own pace and stop to read signs if I want. One sign mentioned that California is home to more than 5,000 species of plants. But did you also know that 2,000 of them are invasive?

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 092
Non-native Periwinkle (Vinca minor). A foreigner. Who knew?

I felt my head clear, less constrained. Thoughts float through me. The subject of a post reveals itself: writing and editing in the digital age. It is sure to be riveting. It takes so much to get away.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 070
Up a hill to what looks like a secret meeting place of the druids, most probably after hours when the place empties out.

At last, the waterfall. I watch the water pound the rocks, as people snap photos. We all snap photos together to capture the moment.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 076
People and nature together for an afternoon. Note the shadows.

But some things you have to see up close. You have to be there.

Note to my East coast/Canandian friends: I’m sorry. I can’t control the weather. Just remember that California is in a terrible drought.

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72 thoughts on “Walking Alone with Nature

  1. I can’t wait until my favorite walking places are open. I was able to take a long walk on the icy beach on Saturday, but it wasn’t my favorite beach, was was impossible to reach. Yes, I need to be outside for my head to clear. I also get achy if I sit around too much. Looks like you had a great little hike.

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    1. Well, at least you got out, Trent. Sometimes, you just got to leave to get away. I was actually sore by the end and pretty tired. I have no idea how far I walked, probably not very…but enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My first reaction when I saw your post was friendly envy. “Oh, I wish I could go on a walk like that today.” But then I saw your disclaimer at the end. 🙂

    Your pics are wonderful, and I applaud your patience in waiting for other walkers to clear the way so you could snap a photo. It’s so much nicer that way, isn’t it? I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a misanthrope.

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    1. Spring time is coming earlier and earlier to us, but it still doesn’t last very long. Before we know it, it’s really hot and this green is brown. I will just enjoy it while it lasts. I do feel bad after seeing all these snow pictures.
      Thanks. It’s hard to take a bad picture of something so pretty. I had to wait to take most photos, but I think it was worth it! Glad you enjoyed it. Oh, not at all. Plus, it feels weird to take pictures of a bunch of strangers, although I was tempted to take a few of the dogs.

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      1. Haven’t been to the river for a few weeks. I’m writing again. I think. Writing is a fragile thing for me at the moment.

        The thing about my river walks is that I want company and I don’t want company. It’s an odd thing, but ultimately, those walks for me are about being quiet and inhabiting my head — as if I don’t already do enough of that.

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      2. Writing can be fragile. Certainly, the time is hard to come by. These walks are good alone and with family, but I feel like I need both. If you really want to get away away, then taking a walk during the week is the ideal thing to do. Over the weekend, it’s hard to escape people. Maybe you know some quiet spots?

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      3. Most of the places I have walked have been very quiet with lots of places to wander off the main trail and find even quieter spots right on the water. As it warms up, however, that may get more difficult.

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  3. Amy, you’re wonderful! I laughed when I read about you wanting to send a text to the family but having no access. What a lovely, refreshing post – I really enjoyed taking this walk with you 😀

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    1. Thank you, Dianne. You’re wonderful! I’m so happy you could spend the time with me. 🙂 So funny to be so intent on something, like sending the text, and then to have it be impossible. Oh, well! you quickly say and move on.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful post and photos – so nice to see colors instead of the dreary, monochromatic landscape that surrounds me right now. Sounds like your moments of solitude actually turned out to be quite refreshing!

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    1. Yes, indeed. I wasn’t sure if there would be water or not in that waterfall. I was relieved to see it and know it won’t last. In a few months, this will all be brown and the waterfall probably a mere trickle. I hope the summer isn’t horrible. It needs to rain and snow a lot! We need some of your white stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Much of the snow is transported (banks in parking lots), but unfortunately, it’s all placed in dumping grounds, not shipped to states that need the water. The budget isn’t there.

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      2. Is shipping snow as expensive as desalination? lol. I’m not the person to ask. Maybe I could ask that question on Yahoo answers… Fuel costs are a big part of shipping costs.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your photo essay, Amy. It’s must what I need today. It’s snowing here in Syracuse again. Well, actually, it’s threatening to turn to sleet. Lovely. I asked my dear wife Karen when she got home from work and she said everybody was driving 30 mph. Sigh.

    Your green, your color, your shadows, your falls, tour trees, your falls. Your turn from drought. Yay.

    I would have gone with you on that walk, Amy. Every time. Just saying. Tell your husband. Get him jealous. Wake him up. Would serve him right.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Mark. I’m glad I shed a little sunshine your way. If it snowed here, I’m talking sleet, everything would close down. I took these with my iPhone 6, like you! It does a good job. It certainly is not me. I’m glad you enjoyed them! Aww, I will tell him. He missed out, bit time. I don’t know what is so fun about staying at home. I get really restless.

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      1. Exactly, Mark! I think it’s a lot better than the 4, my old phone. I’ve been playing with the video and its many options. I agree the camera is great for outdoors. Inside, it’s hit or miss.

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      2. I went from 4 to 6, too, Amy, and it was like going from manual typewriter to computer, skipping the IBM selectric. I’m playing with the video more, too. Did you see that I started my own YouTube channel? Have you done that yet? I have almost a dozen videos up. Tell me when you do and I’ll follow you there, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is a dramatic change, isn’t it? I’ve just started playing with the video and see there are many new possibilities. No, I didn’t know you had your own YouTube channel. I will check it out! Thanks for telling me.

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  6. Beautiful shots Amy! I’ll bet you enjoyed your walk. Walking is one of my favorite things to do. It does clear one’s head and remind one of how much we have — for free — to observe and enjoy.

    “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”
    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature.

    You had many of those moments. Thank you for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Brigitte. Walking is a simple, freeing activity. And the best things in life are free, too. I love the quote. That captures my walk beautifully! Thanks for that and thanks for coming along with me. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Thanks, Audra. I wouldn’t mind the snow for a bit. I could use a change of scenery. Oh, you walk alone, too?! My kids could care less about the outdoors. It’s device, device, device. I don’t mind alone, too. It’s good for the head.

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      1. Well, I hope you can get some walks in while yours still home. My kids think walks are boring and tiring. 😦 A walk would be a great way to start the day, Audra. A nice, quiet start.

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  7. Wow, what a beautiful place, Amy. I love that kind of place to just walk alone. Is that what it’s really like there at the moment? It’s still cold and windy here, although they say it’s going to warm up soon. If it ever got above freezing, I think I’d be out in shorts and T-shirt. 🙂

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    1. Yes, I took these photos this past Sunday. It’s a beautiful spot. It’s definitely shorts weather already. 🙂 The spring here is really really short. It feels like it lasts a couple of weeks and then we’re in the triple digits! At least, it feels this way. I just enjoy this time while it lasts. Come summer this will all be brown probably. Glad you liked it.

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  8. As much as I hate New York’s wicked winter, Amy, I appreciate taking a long, hot shower guilt-free. That’s a luxury for you Californians and what seems like an endless drought.

    I like your images very much. I think I could handle walking those paths even though I often feel out of sorts when I’m not near an escalator.

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    1. You’re cracking me up. You are such the New Yorker! You know the shower is the one thing I’m going to be more aware of, do my part and keep them short. It’s a matter of everyone here doing little things to make a difference. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I bet you’d forget all about the escalator on these paths.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. If that’s available to you close to home, you’d be nuts not to take advantage of it on a regular basis. There’s another snowstorm brewing just outside my window and you have the nerve to post these pics? How dare you! I accept your apology. This time.

    Alone is better sometimes. I’ve never had a problem spending time alone. I quite enjoy it, actually. It’s good for your soul.

    That’s a fantastic shot of the Periwinkle. It has artistic merit.

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    1. Yes, it’s not too far of a drive. Crazy, huh? I’m shocked it took me so long to see it. Now that I know it’s there, I will visit more. This was such an ideal time to go because it wasn’t hot and it’s still green! I’m sorry, I truly am, about all your weather. I feel guilty almost, except for our drought, which is beyond bad, especially since California produces so much of the nation’s crops. It’s crazy that the state that is in many areas a vast desert and is now suffering from a tremendous drought depends so much on agriculture.
      I, too, like the alone time. I reminded my kids that my parents never asked me to go on walks…that meant nothing to them. Sigh.
      Why, thank you! I’m proud of that little Periwinkle. Shortly after taking it, I read about it one of the signs. 🙂

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    1. Hey, what do you know? I used to live in Reno and my husband’s family lives there. What a coincidence! You know what I’m talking about then. It’s a good thing having such nice weather, but it comes at a price.

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  10. Ah. I haven’t been able to run for awhile. What with the weather and a nagging foot injury, but you made me realize what it is I’ve been missing- doing something alone, being outdoors, the woods. I just might have to sneak in a solo walk this weekend. Thank you for this gorgeous reminder. (And I forgive you for the snowlessness. At least we have the seasons out here. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing your walk with us, Amy. I would have jumped at the chance to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine with you. There is nothing like a good old fashioned walk to clear your head and solve all the problems of the world. It makes you not want to go back to the reality that is our lives. I’m glad you went.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. Maybe someday we’ll take such a walk together. 🙂 Sorry for the delay in responding to your comments. I haven’t forgotten! Thanks for taking the time to read my posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would enjoy that, Amy. You have a lot on your plate right now. Take your time. I can relate as I am really far behind in my reading and like you we just had a sudden death in the family. One of my sisters (a few years older than me) just didn’t wake up Wednesday morning. It was quite the shock. I don’t see me catching up any too soon.

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