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Marie’s Travels (Wind Wolves Part One)

Have you ever hiked through nature? As someone extremely out of shape, hiking has to be easy for me, or at least more like a leisurely stroll. Whenever I do hike, however, I enjoy it immensely. Hiking not only is better for your health, it also gives you the opportunity to view and enjoy God’s nature. One place full of God’s wonders? Wind Wolves Preserve, a wildlands conservancy outside of my home town.

I went on a Wind Wolves hike with my husband during what is called a “blackout night” where the moon doesn’t shine, and the stars are brighter. I was able to take a photo as the sun set, posing with the one water bottle we brought.

I have only two complaints from the hike: I didn’t bring enough water, and it was not an easy stroll. I will try the Sunset Walk next time and see if that is an easier hike.  Neither of those complaints compare to the amount of benefits I received from the walk.

We walked until we reached a hill where we could see the stars. The beautiful blanket of constellations brought poetry to my heart and mind. As we descended, our flashlights showing brightly along the path.  I wrote this in reflection of that one scene:

“So many lanterns, reflecting the stars like the sky above. Marching feet further and further, no stones or heights too far. Stars beyond, reflecting their Creator like the many white dots of the sky.”

I have only seen a sky like that once before, on a snowy night, right outside of Hume Lake. I was there with a few friends, looking up at the Milky Way in awe. I have often wished I could photograph those stars, just to keep them with me. But every photograph I have attempted to take has failed. Instead, I find Starry Night to be the best man-made interpretation of the night sky, save probably a few photos from NASA.

Besides the stars, I enjoyed tromping through the river and listening to the guide explain different types of wildlife. There were lizards and scorpions, and despite my normal eek at the idea of such creatures, the lizards were small and the scorpions are only an inch long at the most. The scorpions also glowed with an ultra-violet light, which was fascinating. The creatures were interesting, but the plant life was also fascinating. I enjoyed learning about the different types of plants, though I can’t remember them all. The plant life reminded me of my own small garden at home, where I am experimenting with my green thumb.

Overall, the hike left me feeling both exhausted and exhilarated. I realized, after hiking for so long, that I finally knew how my characters would feel. How exhausted and sweaty they could get, and how elated they could be at the sight of something beautiful. The night hike helped me visualize a night journey with my characters. That’s why I labelled this post part one. I hope to visit Wind Wolves when the flowers are blooming, and I can go at a much slower pace.

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