Forest Bathing

A term that means visiting a forest for relaxation. Or a walk through the woods to aid in a person’s well being and serenity. And what better time of year for this idea of forest bathing, than fall.

The forests here in Vermont are finally undergoing their autumn changes. Warmer weather in September slowed the process. And some worried that the colors might be muted or the leaves would fall off too quickly once the cooler weather arrived.

But as I stroll through the forests near where I live, as I bathe in their colorful splendor, I know that nature is right on schedule.

Autumn is here. And the forest is displaying her extravagance, splashing the earth with her glorious hues.


It is truly the perfect time for forest bathing.


A Sunday Stroll

At least that’s what it was meant to be.

A leisurely walk in Groton State Forest, on a gloriously warm Sunday afternoon.

I had noticed on a map that there were some ponds in the forest that I had never seen. It seemed like the perfect kind of day and a perfect kind of walk to a perfect kind of destination. It didn’t involve steep mountains or climbing up rocks. Just a simple stroll through the woods.


The trail from the parking lot meandered slowly through the woods and then connected with what’s known as the rail trail. An old railroad bed converted into biking, hiking, and walking trails.


We had already walked about a mile. I thought the ponds couldn’t be too far away.

On the side of the trail a bog appeared. I knew we must be getting close.

The trail continued. I walked and enjoyed and took pictures. My mind empty of thoughts. Simply enjoying the beauty around me. Noticing signs of change, yet summer still very much around me.

I drank from my water bottle feeling happy and at peace. What a lovely day.


Walking. And walking. and walking some more. Thinking around each bend in the trail a pond would appear. Another mile passed and then another. I began to wonder. Maybe I couldn’t see the pond from the trail. Maybe it was hidden deeper in the woods. Perhaps the bog had been the pond at one time. Maps are often outdated.

And just as I thought about turning around. It did appear around a bend.


And it was stunning. Breathtaking. Magnificent.

I kept walking. Savoring and marveling at the water, the reflections, the view.

And then another smaller pond appeared. And it was just as magnificent.

I looked around. The trail connected to a road. And I thought that if I followed it, I would come back out to where the parking lot was, instead of going back the way I had come. And so I continued walking.

After another mile I wondered if I might be heading in the wrong direction. A couple riding their bicycles stopped to chat and I asked “Where does this road lead?”. Marshfield they answered. And I realized it wouldn’t take me back to the parking lot. I would have to go back the way I came.


So I turned around.

A Sunday stroll of 8 miles. I slept well that night.

Magical Places

Sometimes, as adults, we forget that the world is still magical. Just as it was when we were children. In our busy and hurried lives, we forget that magic can be found…in many places. We only have to open our eyes and hearts to it.


Today I found magic.

There is a place. Deep in the Camels Hump State Forest.


It’s known to the locals as the enchanted forest.

It is enchanted.


It is quiet and peaceful.

The only sound is your breathing and the beating of your heart.

The path winds through the lush green woods.


You marvel at the towering trees growing so straight and tall…reaching for the sun.

You can imagine there are fairies and elves living here…in the soft moss of the forest floor.


Further on you find ancient maples. Some over 200 years old.

Still growing and thriving despite gnarled trunks and decades of harsh winters.

And then a clearing.


A cottage. Here in the middle of nowhere. And you wonder about the people who built it. And the meaning behind the symbols on the door. And the rock arch.

A magical house in an enchanted forest.

You are captivated. Not wanting to leave.

But you do. And a little of the magic from this place leaves with you.