Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

Rock walls…

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Wall.”

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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.

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It is truly the perfect time for forest bathing.

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Heaven’s Gulch

I tried to get to Devil’s Gulch last year, but along the way I was distracted by Ritterbush Pond and never made it any further.

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This year, I was determined to hike there and to see this unique natural feature on the Long Trail near Belvedere Mountain.

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It was a beautiful day when we set out. Ritterbush Pond appeared, and we did linger there for awhile. How could we not? The calm reflective waters invite lingering.

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But it was Devil’s Gulch that was our destination. The trail there is deceiving. It travels down instead of up. Down, down, down. Deep into a narrow valley.

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A ladder leaning up against a rock face is the first clue that there is more to this place than meets the eye.

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At the top of the ladder you look down into the gulch. Devil’s Gulch. I expected something dark and sinister. But what I saw seemed more like an entrance to a magical and enchanted place. An opening into another time and dimension. It captured my heart immediately and completely.

Huge rocks and boulders lay scattered about before me. Some resting precariously and others seemed as if they had been there forever.

Thickly coated in emerald green moss and lichen. Tree roots embracing and holding them in place.

An altar appeared. Made of rocks and moss. It felt almost church like. And I wondered why. Why was this beautiful place named Devil’s Gulch?

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As the sunlight filtered through the overhead trees and we explored this captivating place, I realized it didn’t matter why. To me, it felt more like Heaven’s Gulch.

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A place of serenity, peace…and a little bit like heaven.

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101.5 Miles

It has been a beautiful summer. I spent many hours enjoying the people and places I love.

This summer I also hiked. I hiked a lot. Sometime in July, I calculated I had hiked over 70 miles since school ended June 20. I decided I wanted to try to hike 100 miles before school began again.

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The mountains in Vermont are glorious. The views and vistas magnificent. No two mountains are alike. The trails vary in length and difficulty. The views partial or a full 360 degrees.

To me, it doesn’t matter. The journey up the mountain is just as special and wondrous as the summit.

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School began August 20. On August 19, I hiked up Sunset Ledge and watched the sun set. As I sat and gazed out I realized I had reached and surpassed my goal of 100 miles.

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This summer I hiked 101.5 miles.

As I climbed down in the dark, I smiled. Maybe next summer I’ll try for 200 miles.

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From Lake Willoughby With Love

There is a place. In the far northeast corner of Vermont. A place I have come to love. A place where I have over the years sought peace and serenity and found so much more. It holds a very special place in my heart.

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Lake Willoughby.

With her towering mountains that stand guard over her shores.

With her calm and reflective waters.

With iher glorious vistas and magnificent sunsets.

It is a place where worries fall away and life slows down. A step back into a simpler time. And wonder around every corner and on every mountain top.

It’s always hard to leave. But I know that she’s always here for me. Waiting patiently until I return again.

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From Lake Willoughby with love…

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Springtime at the Quarries

They always surprise me, these abandoned quarries.

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I always discover something new each time I go. A new trail. Another new hidden quarry. A new view. A new sense of awe.

In the springtime, the quarries show their true colors. The deep and mineral rich water sparkles brilliantly in the sun.

The leaves fill in the woods and trails filtering light and giving life to the things that grow here.

The rocks, scarred and striated, stand tall and proud above the glorious pools below.

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This newness…is how I wish to live my life. Each day a new beginning. Each day a new chance. Each day a new adventure.

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And the quarries in springtime remind me just how beautifully brand new each day is.