Thursday, January 1, 2015

Get Lost: Its Good For You

Today was a great day. Today was a win. Today I got lost.

Thousand Hills State Park boasts a beautiful lake with boats for rent, several swimming platforms in the back coves and miles of blazed trails set throughout rolling Missouri hills. Check out the link, the photos are ones I added (I love Yelp).  Sixteen degrees and I decided I was going to go out and jog the trails, get outside and challenge my body for an hour or so.

Yellow blaze trail
While the park isn't open to hunters, the surrounding land is so I was wearing more florescent and reflective colors than you can shake a stick at.

Phone charged, layers on, sneakers tied and clothing bright: check. When your dressed for the environment and the activity you have a lot more fun, and I didn't want to freeze.

The trails are decently marked with colored blazes, rather well traveled and visible thanks to the mountain bikers, and its rather hard to get lost with the lake in view. So how did I, a rather intelligent and experienced hiker get lost on a clear winter day in a park I'm familiar with?

I let go. My planned hour of jogging/hiking felt great, so I kept going, kept following the trail. I was taking pictures (to put on Yelp), listening to music, and monitoring calorie output with a heart rate monitor and texting friends (in the rare spots of service). Its amazing just how fast you can drain an iPhone battery when you are really using all the features.

The music stopped in my ears, no more messages to check, no more photos to take and (gasp) no more data for my exercise app! Its an eerie feeling, and its not that the music stops or the camera doesn't click. It the wash of realization that you are alone. The connection to the world beyond was cut, batteries dead and outside acknowledgment denied.

Did I turn around? Nope. There was a time before cell phones, when I hiked for the pleasure of it. For the simple fact that I could be alone, have time to reflect and just focus on the immediate world around me and my interaction with it. Its been a long time since I've done something for the pure pleasure of the activity.

Swim platform in the far cove
We spend so much of our day plugged in. Connected, networking, Facebooking, blogging, texting: chasing a feeling of inclusion and community. But we neglect ourselves in the process.

Take the time to get lost. Really lost. Let the phone die, the iPad battery run out, and the laptop closed. Maybe even go for a walk in the woods and find out where the trail ends.

Reestablish community with yourself, with your head, heart and body. Look inward for a sense of connection and completeness.