Today I went on a hike by myself at Mueller State Park. Despite the quietness and rest this season has for me at home I was still in need of some geniune solitude. A trail named, 'Elk Meadow' caught my attention and I decided to explore that one. It is listed as just over 2.2 miles and I thought that would be a good distance since I have only been in Colorado for 3 weeks.
I parked near the trailhead and gathered a few things in a backpack. There were no other cars in the lot so I was pretty excited for a quiet hike. I took a quick peak at the more detailed map and started down the trail. I brought a book entitled, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies, with me in case I wanted to identify some plants. There were a few along the way that I attempted to identify but am not certain if I am correct. I think I saw: Canadian Buffaloberry, Pineapple Weed, Rabitbush and Angelicas.
I did not pay close enough attention to the map and ended up hiking 4.8 miles. On the way out I went nice and slow and tried to use all my senses to experience my surroundings. The scents of cedar, pine and juniper were very strong as well as the scent of horse manure (the trail was open for horse riding as well.) I stopped a top a hill that looked directly at Pike's Peak. There was a bench in the shade of a tree that looked very welcoming. I munched on some granola bar and banana chips while reading Psalm 36 which says, "Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness stretches to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep." It was a nice moment of contemplation as I viewed the mighty mountains and beautiful skies.
The return journey was exhausting and I was definitely less aware of my surroundings as my tired body just wanted to get back to the car. At one point, however, I noticed a lovely little violet flower that I had not seen on the way out. I stopped and studied it for a while and enjoyed another moment of slowing down. I also noticed a deer track in some mud on the way back.
is a lovely place
to study a flower petal
and for a fellow
to rest in solitude.