This morning, Eric and the dogs and I hiked the Cummins Creek Trail near Cape Perpetua. Hiking is for me what church is for other people, a sacred space where I can actively connect with that which is larger than myself, a way to worship and celebrate and surrender, to give thanks for the wonderful life I get to live and the amazing beauty in which I get to live it.
Our hike this morning reminded me a few things I’d forgotten about hiking on the Oregon Coast.
- I forgot: The way the wind contorts the trees at the very edge of the forest, where it meets the sea, permanently shaping and bending them.
- I forgot: Slugs and spit bugs, (those last ones are every bit as gross as they sound).
- I forgot: How much I love Hemlock and Maple trees.
- I forgot: How up in the big Hemlocks and Firs and Redwoods and Maples, the ground beneath your feet is nothing but tree roots and decayed plant matter, moss and fungi, and that all makes it super springy, spongy, soft.
- I forgot: That it’s w a y more humid than in Colorado. At one point on our hike today, I was completely wet, body and clothes, covered in a thick layer of sweat and water, dripping and soggy. I had to finally give up and put my sunglasses in my pocket because they kept fogging up, making me blind.
- I forgot: As in Colorado, you have to hike hard and far to get to the real sweet spot.
- I forgot: While in Colorado on a hike you might see up to 40 different plant species, on the Oregon Coast you see at least 400.
- I forgot: Sometimes, it’s so beautiful that you can’t hardly believe it’s real, and you love it so much it hurts.