Monday, October 18, 2010

The value of breaks and noticing the scenery along the trail

Dwarf Huckleberry
I’m working to get better at taking breaks. When I’m on the trail, I love to go steady until the destination is reached. On family trips my dad was great at getting us from point A to point B without interruption along the way, unless of course he had to stop that big blue station wagon for disciplinary reasons, which there were many ;-) .  I’m discovering that breaks can be enjoyable, valuable, and even necessary at times to keep it going over the long haul.

Swordleaf Rush by Upper Lyman Lake
Not only is it helpful to take breaks, it can also be valuable to take careful notice of the surroundings while on a hike. Knowing that I was traveling alone on a long trail that I had never been on before, I worked to be especially aware of my surroundings- forward, left, right and behind. This helped me notice the beauty of the surroundings, "Nikon Moments", and also served as a reminder of where I came from, so I could find my way home, going in the opposite direction. The trail can look much differently going away versus coming home. I’ve found this practice particularly useful when trying to relocate my car in a big parking lot.

For photographic purposes I discovered often the best shots were at the chipmunk level. This means lying down and getting a close up look at things from the ground level.

To notice beauty requires seeing detail, which in turn requires us to slow down and often stop to take notice.

Oregon grape
While it may be expedient to travel by airplane, or drive on freeways, the scenery is considerably better when we’re able to slow down and see things from a bike or a hike, canoe or kayak. Traveling to and from Holden I discovered the train provided a great chance to simply observe scenery while not having to worry about driving and keeping eyes on the road.

Trail questions…

How good are you at taking time out for breaks?

Do you take time out to look back to see from whence you came?

What are some things you can do to slow down in order to see the beauty of detail?

If you don't already, how can you build breaks into your day, week and year?

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