As great it is to get out and have few days out in the woods, that doesn't always get to happen due to time constraints and other commitments. I'm lucky in the fact that within 15 minutes of where I live, I can get to three state recreation areas, covering thousands of acres. The opportunity is always there to take a break and enjoy some quality time, it's just a matter of telling myself to do it. Here in Michigan, we finally got snow and today I had a couple hours to head out to one of my favorite places, Bloomer State Park #3 in the Ortonville Recreation Area.
Last year, I never got out snowshoeing due to our lack of snow and was looking forward to some much needed exercise and some fresh air. I packed up my daypack with the essentials, plus my eno & tarp. I had also gotten a OR gore-tex jacket from Santa and wanted to try that out too. Even though the lot was pretty full when I got there, I know that in the winter, most people take the short trail over to the sledding hill. I got my gear on, headed up the outer loop trail and within minutes I was starting to experience that feeling you get when it's just you and the spirit of nature.
It took a little bit to get back into snowshoeing form and start feeling those little aches and pains to seem to hit me a lot more as I get older. Didn't pass anyone for the first hour or so as I worked my way down the trail. Searching for the perfect spot to hang and take a break, I found what I was looking for: great trees and an even better view of the woods. I set up the eno, pulled out the WW 5x7 tarp (too small for rain coverage, but perfect for a quick day hike) and got out my pot and homemade alcohol stove for some lunch. Lounged a bit in the hammock while my soup and hot cider cooked, then lounged some more while I ate it. It even started to snow a bit, making the woods even more beautiful.
Meanwhile, the mental batteries where recharging even more and I knew I had to get moving soon. So, I packed up and headed back to the trail for the 30 minute hike to my car. I still never saw anyone until I got closer to the people sledding near the parking lot. Getting out for a couple hours does wonders for the soul and provides a way to slow down life a bit. It never hurts to reflect on how each of us fits in as part of the "big picture". Enjoy the time you have, because you just never know what's down the next trail.