What Lies Off The Groomed Path

I have long wanted to rock climb; to stretch the limits of my body’s strength, flexibility and coordination; to completely surrender to the moment and trust that the mountain will support me perfectly in the experience.

Recently, my boyfriend and I explored yet another spectacular nature playground of this amazing planet. While at Mohonk Mountain House in NY, a 40,000 acre protected forest area which overlooks a glacier lake, we chose to take the Labyrinth and Crevice rock climbing natural pathways instead of the groomed pathways to the top. Yes, 973 glorious feet of traversing boulders and natural pathways up the side of a rock-cliff mountain. It’s called rock scrambling, and it’s delightful!

Talk about breathtaking.  Every sense was delighted during the experience. The feel of the rocks on my hands and underfoot, the way the temperature dropped in certain caves, the warmth of the full-on sun at rock bluffs which offered us both respite from the climb, and a chance to simply soak in the beauty of the surroundings.  At times we saw far above us the bridges constructed for the groomed pathways, while we continued to traverse natural rocks and ledges. We moved left and right; up, down and then up again; trusting that the mountain offers rocks for footholds, aligned ever so perfectly with ones for our hands to grasp when the terrain is more challenging. Choosing in each moment where to carefully place our feet while watching for branches or other obstacles, and paying attention to the mountain’s every nuance. So many incredible jaw dropping moments of wonder and discovery were placed before us. We stopped multiple times, pointing out trees, roots, mushrooms, rock formations, and the stunning views of the lake or the multiple mountain ranges in sight.

I had never hiked like this before, and the experience brought forth in me a childlike wonder and curiosity. Feelings of giddiness and lightness arose. There was complete appreciation of the perfection of this space, and I felt a symbiotic melding into it. I chose my own distinct pathway, while still following the worn red arrows of direction.  Down? Into that small cave? Challenge accepted.  Thankful for strategically placed ladders to guide us up the very steep spaces, we continued to move in our dance with the mountain.

The experience provided me with so many gifts that day. Gifts that I can breathe back to life by simply closing my eyes and recalling the details of how I felt in any particular moment. Therein lies another gift from the mountain; recognition that our connection to and rejeuvenation from the earth – this glorious symbiotic sharing of energy between us, endures by simply recalling it.  There was no schedule, no deadline to meet. I was graced with simply enjoying the momentum of the climb, and moved by the captivating beauty of it all.

Wishing you much delight as you discover and appreciate what lies off the groomed path in life.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

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