I have a confession: I love going hiking without my family.
Don’t get me wrong, I love going hiking with them, too.
But it’s a very different experience when I can spend time in the forest alone or with a friend, vs. going hiking as a mom and wife.
My family likes to race ahead of me, making me feel like I should rush to catch up. They also like to terrify and alarm me by leaning over or getting too near precarious cliff edges. It’s not relaxing!
Compare that with the delightful outing I had this month with my bestie.
We had been planning our girls’ day out hiking in Hocking Hills for a long time. We tried to go two or three times last year and earlier this year, but both weather and family crises seemed to conspire against us.
FINALLY, this week was our time. We got to head down to Hocking Hills together, laughing all the way. We hiked to two waterfalls and meditated at both. It was heavenly!
We took our time exploring Cedar Falls and Conkle’s Hollow. We walked slowly, focusing all our senses on the amazing and gorgeous forests, caves, wildflowers, bird calls, falling water, rocks and gorges around us.
It was there in the woods that my best friend first got to hear my creepy forest whisper. Apparently, I whisper-speak while hiking? I guess I was feeling particularly reverent about the amazing old-growth trees and biodiversity around us. When my friend asked me a question, I whispered my reply.
I’m not sure how my creepy forest whisper first came about. That’s how we talk in church – and I feel like the great outdoors is my church. I guess Hocking Hills just feels like a sacred place to me!
Anyway, when we got to the main geological feature at the pinnacle of the hike – for Cedar Falls it’s the waterfall, and for Conkle’s Hollow it’s a cool cave and waterfall – we sat down and did some forest meditation to truly soak in and appreciate the energy and vibes of Hocking Hills.
It was absolutely beautiful – likely my favorite time ever at Hocking Hills. The weather was slightly overcast so not many people were out. In many cases, it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. And the fellow hikers we did pass were always friendly and clearly nature lovers like us.
Maybe there’s no such thing as a grumpy or mean nature lover?!
I’ve always been a fan of nature walks, hiking and forest bathing. And now, forest meditation is my absolute favorite thing ever. Just sitting still in a beautiful, wild place and focusing on your breathing and absorbing the natural majesty around you is so healing and de-stressing.
I cannot believe how relaxed, rejuvenated and energized we both felt after our day of hiking and meditating in nature. I highly recommend this wonderful form of self-care! It feels like pure nature magic.
And if you’re looking for a new nature preserve or park to explore, check out my list of our favorite natural wonderlands in central Ohio.
Have you ever taken time outside in nature to meditate? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on Instagram or Facebook.