#Nature, #forest, #mountain – blend together and serve whenever in doubt

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

Zig Ziglar

I so wasn’t prepared for this! I could feel my muscles breaking before even attempting to set foot in the forest. I had spent these past two months mostly inside the comfort of my house. The set of physical exercises that I do on a daily basis is rather mild, therefore, when my better half announced me (meaning “no question about it”) that we’re camping at the top of the mountain this (now past) Saturday, I vehemently declined. Without proper training plus carrying a big backpack filled with food, water, my sleeping bag and some extra clothes, there was no chance of even thinking about hiking for more than 2 minutes without going out of breath. No, definitely not.

But, he convinced me and, boy, what a journey we had!

The terrain was muddy at first (I believe it’s called Terra Rosa?) and we welcomed the fresh air the forest offered. Here, the sun could barely make its way through the trees, but when it did, the emerald light made us feel as if we were entering the domain of fairy tales.

I thought I could at least resist climbing for 15 minutes, but, dear God, only 5 minutes in, which felt like a life time, and already my throat was burning. You see, I was rather thrilled and kept talking and awing at the view while swallowing big chunks of cold air and dragging my feet through roots and fallen branches. And, mind you, it was an easy trail, but because I was lacking even the minimum strength required to do it, every step was painful.

I had to stop frequently because sometimes it felt as if I was going to vomit my heart. Ba-boom, ba-boom, I could feel it in my throat. But I was happy! Nothing compares to going up a mountain surrounded by endless trees and silence (except for the singing birds and the buzzing of insects).

The forest is a magical place, hiding secrets few will ever know. If you listen closely, you may find wisdom in the trees. They are older than us, stronger. They do not bow. They stand tall and proud, facing every storm that comes on to them. No wonder you may wish someone to grow healthy and tall like a tree.

The trees are a symbol of eternal life and wisdom. They are present in folklore all around the world.

The Native American folklore is full of stories about the sacred spirit of the trees. Norse mythology tells us about Yggdrasil, the tree that supports the 9 realms of the Universe. The Mayan tree of life exists as a physical, real tree called the Ceiba tree and it could be found in the center of most Mesoamerican villages. This sacred tree allowed the three realms, Underworld, Earth and Heaven, to communicate. And let’s not forget about the creatures that protect the forests, such as the Slavic Leshy (I wrote about his story here).

When we reached the top, a little above 1700 m altitude, the view took away any breath I had left in me, if any. I couldn’t believe we were finally there. We set out our tents and went to explore the surroundings.

We wished to see the sunset, but it got cloudy and we missed it. We fueled our bodies with food and alcohol and watched the stars for hours. It was mesmerizing!

Now, imagine if I had stayed home, how much beauty I would have missed. Of course, the next morning I could barely feel my legs. It hurt everywhere. I was shaking at every step, my legs were gelatinous. I couldn’t rely on them, but we had to come down, right? I had to stop even more times while heading downhill than when we were going up. Still, when we arrived back to the civilization, with all the pain in my legs and back, I already missed being up there, one with the nature and I felt ready to go back anytime.

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