“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
To many of us, 2020 proved to be an exceptionally challenging year, full of opportunities for learning and growth on many levels. Personally for me, it was a year that provided experiences leading to profound understanding of key truths related to human behavior under pressure and the healing efficacy of nature.
"The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.
I wholeheartedly agree with this deeply spiritual Scotsman whose environmental conservation advocacy helped save some of the most beautiful parts of America's wilderness from loggers’ axes and the livestock industry. The Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park are the gifts, the crown jewels, we can all enjoy today as a result of his 'labor of love'.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I decided to dedicate this post to 'John of the Mountains' who, in his own words, "cared to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness."
“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.”
I must admit that the more October days I spend in the Pacific Northwest's forests and mountains, the more I fall in love with its colorful beauty. It is not only the heartwarming yellows, golds, oranges and reds that impress me, but the ever so soft sunrays that no longer burn the skin and instead just warm the body in their loving embrace.
"Nature's first green is gold,
Every autumn thousands of nature lovers make their pilgrimage to see the golden beauty of the turning larches at Ingalls Pass. This year is no exception. The trailhead carpark was already full when we arrived at 9:30am on a Monday morning. You can easily imagine the weekend crowds.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
Located in the North Cascades, Mount Baker area, roughly 2.5 hrs' drive from Seattle, the Anderson and Watson Lakes are a real treat to experience. The trail to the lakes and back is only 6 miles long with 1100 ft of elevation gain, which makes it suitable for most hikers and backpackers.
“Here is a relationship booster that is guaranteed to work: Every time your spouse or lover says something stupid make your eyes light up as if you just heard something brilliant.”
It is likely that you are already familiar with this remarkable, 13th century Muslim spiritual master, but I bet you didn't know that he was also a comedian. If you did, that is great. I invite you to read further for more quotes of his timeless wisdom and inspiration.
"There is growing evidence that being grateful may not only bring good feelings—it may also lead to better health."
In this post I would like to share a practice I find very beneficial to my overall well-being that some of you might like to try out for yourselves.
We don’t stop having fun because we get old,
There are numerous ways one can boost their immune system, but not many of these are as simple and cost effective as taking oneself outside to unwind in nature. The nearly endless list of health benefits includes key factors such as reduced levels of stress hormones, lowered blood pressure, improved physical fitness, elevated mood, etc, but the most important one for me has always been the FUN factor.
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there
"Regular practice of these exercises relieves muscular tension and nervous stress, improves respiration and digestion, benefits the cardiovascular system, and leads to deep relaxation and well-being. The Five Tibetans can be a powerful vehicle not only for enlivening the senses but also for generating and harnessing vital energy for self-transformation."
Have you ever heard of The Five Tibetans? Luckily, they are not a bunch of some old guys from Tibet. They are believed to be a 2500 year old set of 5 yoga like movements used by Tibetan Monks and brought to the West in the 1930s by a retired British Colonel. Is this true? Who knows? I decided to give them a whirl anyway.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch"
There are numerous health benefits to mountain biking such as improved function of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, increased stamina, reduced blood pressure and waistline, better muscle tone, faster reflexes, just to name a few. Cycling is also great for your joints as it improves their mobility without too much impact, unless you crash, but one of the best things about this particular mode of exercise is that it is fun and brings sheer joy to the rider.
If the above list of benefits is not enough to entice you to ride, there are even more great reasons why one might fall in love with mountain biking. Below I shared 7 of my personal favorites.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
The privilege to see "one of the most spectacular locations in the Cascade Range" has to be earned. First, you will need to win the Enchantments overnight permit lottery, and then it will 'cost you' a climb of 2,200 feet (670 m) in 0.8 miles (1.3 km) should you choose to start from the south end of Colchuck Lake and go up Aasgard Pass. And that is just the beginning of your journey into this natural wonder.
"Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action."
August is a great month to visit the two treasures of Mt Rainier - Summerland and Panhandle Gap. Most of the snow covering the steep slopes near the top of the gap is gone, which makes for an easier access to its expansive views of the Goat Rocks, Mt Adams, and on clear days Oregon's Mt Hood.
“People used to avoid mountains, but now we seek their company. We come for the pretty sights, but also to find a place still free from those life-saving constraints.
This year July turned out to be a great month, full of adventure and joy. We visited several alpine lakes and even got to swim in one. However, our hike along the Skyline Trail in the Mt Rainier National Park became a highlight of the month.
“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.
With all the great new MTB trails around Tiger Mountain there is something fun for everyone. Thanks to the continuous building efforts of the Evergreen MTB Alliance with its numerous volunteers, we now have a variety of trails suitable for all skill levels.
Join Wellness Through Adventure on a back country snowshoe trip along the West Fork Foss River to Trout Lake and back.
Located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, near Stevens Pass in Central Cascades, Trout Lake is a popular day-hiking and backpacking destination. If you appreciate and seek solitude and have back country navigation skills, winter is a great time to visit.
Sunshine, deep blue skies, snow covered trees, and frozen alpine lakes surrounded by majestic mountain peaks were our companions on this mid-week snowshoeing adventure at Snoqualmie Pass, WA.
"What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live.
Joy was exactly what we experienced snowshoeing along the deep snow covered Commonwealth Basin Trail earlier this month. We picked this destination after careful consideration of the avalanche danger and decision to stay away from the steep slopes surrounding the area.
"Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, 'I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway.'"
New Year's Eve served us a real feast for the senses. After several days of snow showers we got a perfect, sunny day to say "Goodbye" to 2018. Despite of the heartwarming rays, it was still too cold for the bikinis, but turned out great for the snowshoes.
"Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we decide to go."
Few of us would disagree with the statement that the beauty of the mountains is addicting and soothing to our hearts and souls. This North Cascades' peak named after the local Sauk-Suiattle tribe is no exception when it comes to deeply touching the core of our being.
"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."
With all the wildfires we had this Summer, it was pretty hard to find a smoke-free view of the North Cascades. Fortunately, it all cleared in September, after a few days of long awaited rain showers. Moreover, the changing colors have been spectacular this year, making Autumn a particularly special season this time around.
“Water is the driving force in nature.”
"There is no drug on the market that can rival the number of beneficial physiological effects that water is capable of producing, and it is widely available (unless you happen to be in a desert) and cheap. In fact, there are no substances known to man that possess as many remedial and health-promoting qualities as water. Its therapeutic qualities include sedative, antipyretic (reducing body temperature), anodyne (analgesic), anticonvulsant, astringent, tonic, anaesthetic, and derivative.” Source: Internet Health Library
For millennia. the various healing effects of water have been known throughout the world and its many cultures. Water in a balanced combination with salts/electrolytes is a conductor of electricity which is required by every cell of the body to function properly.