adventures, fitness, Mental Health, Uncategorized

Quiet Contemplation and Reflection

Around here we try to take the time to reflect on our actions, thoughts and words frequently, but, as with all things, life gets the best of us and it gets lost in the shuffle. So, Sunday’s are a day for some reflection and introspection. For myself, it’s easy to sit and think about the things I could have said and done differently, much more than thinking about the positive things that I’ve accomplished. Maybe it’s being a Mom, because of course we are always thinking about what we could’ve done better, maybe it’s just who I am. Either way, I had a chance recently to take a mini vacation on my own, a mountain escape to really reset and recharge myself, and it was incredible.

There is a place in the Geord Washington National Forest called Crabtree Falls Campground, and as I’m sure you may have guessed, it’s right next to Crabtree Falls. I first heard of this area about two years ago when looking up locations to hike with my kids. It’s a beautiful series of falls (the highest vertical-drop east of the Mississippi River too) situated near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Circumstances kept me from heading that way until very recently when I decided to take a four day retreat by myself to explore the mountains and just reset myself.

The campground itself was fairly small, situated along the Tye River, and completely quiet and serene. There is absolutely no cell service within a 20 minute radius either, so once you’re in, you’re on your own. I will fully admit that when I first learned about this, I was already at the cabin and completely unprepared to not have any service for days! It only took a few hours for me to adjust to that, surprisingly, because once you’re surrounded by the quiet stillness of the forest and the sounds of the river, you forget everything else. Every worry and fear seemed to melt away as I was immersed in the beauty around me.

I hiked the falls that very first evening, and it was nothing short of what I’d imagined. A quiet, steady hike that wasn’t overly packed full of people (though I’m told that’s because it was a Tuesday), and the most gorgeous views around, especially at the top. Of course, having gotten that done right away I was left with days to figure out what else to do or sit alone with my own thoughts. Let me tell you something, while being alone can seem daunting, it’s actually an incredible experience to give yourself. I can certainly see why people are so often travelling alone and doing things without others.

The next couple days were spent hiking, of course, from Spy Rock to Morgan’s Loop, all found via the All Trails app. If you’re an avid hiker, or are just looking for fun trails and places to go near you, look into it, it’s a game changer. If you want a more strenuous hike but completly breathtaking views, try the Spy Rock Trail (also part of the Appalachian Trail), and for calmer trails and views just head over to the Parkway and pick a route. You are guaranteed to find beauty and peace everywhere you look, and I can assure you it will help you reset and recharge your soul.

Learning to sit still and reflect in the evenings was much more difficult for me. I am an avid overthinker and my mind is always going in a million directions, so sitting and having nothing but the quiet around me, that’s hard. I did bring a book with me, but alas, reading about a man who hunts the woods to steal your bones probably wasn’t the best choice. So instead, I spent my time reflecting on the things that I’ve accomplished and the things I still wanted to do. The past year has been a whirlwind of trials and tribulations paired with great accomplishments and finding pieces of myself I hadn’t realized were missing. Learning about what I would put up with from others and what I most certainly deserve more of, well it’s hard to put yourself in a position where you know what you need but you’re so afraid to lose what you have. Alone time, time to reflect on all that, helped push me into a position where I was able to set my boundaries and stand up for me.

If I could do it all over again, I would, exactly the same. And if you ever get the chance to take time for yourself, to find somewhere to go and reflect and reset, do it. Do it alone and do it with confidence.

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