Recently, life has thrown me some pretty serious curve balls. Some I saw coming and some just hit me smack in the nose. Metaphorically speaking, of course. So my friend, Sherrie, and I decided we needed to get out of town and hit the reset button on our attitudes towards the world. So we sat down and looked at the hiking trails in Virginia to see which one we wanted to "conquer". We decided on the Cascade Trail in Pembroke, VA. It's a four mile hike with a flowing river all along the trail and the end result is a gorgeous waterfall. We wanted to unplug for the day and decided to only use our phones to take photos. I left my big girl cameras at home because I truly wanted to hike this trail and I knew my cameras would weigh me down.
It was about a 5 hour drive, so we headed out about 5:30 in the morning and arrived about 11am. We immediately headed onto the trail. It was cold at first but the more we hiked the warmer it got. We were quiet for a lot of the hike because almost immediately we were mesmerized by all we were seeing on the trail. The water was so clear and pretty. The icicles were interesting and growing in the most unique spots. Some of the icicles were as thin as hair and growing on the ground. The trail is mostly a series of stairs made out of rocks so there was a lot of climbing involved. Our whole hike up we maybe saw one other group of people. It was amazing.
I'm typically pretty tied to my phone. I never let a message, text, email, etc. go unchecked. I was shocked when I noticed that we weren't even missing our phones. We were just enjoying each others company. I felt the tension lift off me. I was able to get to those deep thoughts in my mind. To breathe deeply. To pray in the quiet. It was exactly what my body and mind needed. When we finally got to the top of the hike we were so excited to have reached this beautiful waterfall. It was majestic. We stood there staring, clearing our minds, snapping a couple pictures and just enjoying the moment. Then, we started to head back down. We loved every moment of it. Even though we took the wrong way back down the trail.
When we got back on the road and decided to stop for lunch at this very colourful Mexican restaurant. I wish I had taken pictures because it was so cute. We enjoyed a quiet, unplugged lunch and then headed back out. We started seeing signs for the Natural Bridge and decided it would be fun to stop. Little did we know that meant getting lost near Jellystone Park (yup it really exists). It also meant we would be facing another hike and on the way back we would have to climb 37 stairs. About three weeks before this trip, I had decided to get serious about getting healthy. So two hikes in one day was a little bit of an overwhelming thought. However, we practically ran the whole hike of the Natural Bridge trail because they were closing within the half hour. The only part that had me upset were those daunting 37 stairs at the end of the trail back to our cars. My legs were like jello.
The best part of the day was getting reacquainted with quiet time. Learning it's okay to not answer everything immediately. People will wait and if they won't then they will find what they need from someone else and you know what? That's totally okay. I need time to reflect on my life, to pray to God for answers, forgiveness and love and to be still. It's imperative that I take care of, not just my body, but my soul too. Whether you believe in God or not doesn't matter. What matters is giving yourself the time to be still, be quiet and reflect so you can get the clarity you need.
Real Talk...I'm terrible at being still physically so hiking is a good way to be still in my mind. While I was out there I wasn't thinking about shoots, marketing, emails, texts or editing. I was thinking look at this beautiful world that we are missing by staring into our phones. I will admit I missed having my big girls camera with me for some macro shots that would have been amazing but I am glad I left it home so I could concentrate on everything around me.
I loved spending some great quality time with my dear friend, Sherrie, who has been a complete rock for me in recent months. It's very rare to find someone who totally let's you be yourself (warts and all) and even let's you cry when that's all you need. Friendship from any person is a gift because it's given freely. Nobody has to be your friend. They choose it. She's truly a treasured part of my life and I'm so glad we are friends. This hike reminded me what friendship means to me and how I need to get back to being the kind of friend I can be proud of. I have learned that my family and friends will be there long after this business and frankly they are the reason I do what I do. If I don't cultivate those relationships then my business is meaningless.
Here are some pictures from our trip. Please forgive the iPhone and Droid photos: