“In the woods, a man casts off his years, like a snake its skin, and is always a child. In the woods is perpetual youth. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel like nothing can befall me in life, no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes) which nature cannot repair. I am part or particle of God. In the wilderness, I find something dearer than in streets or villages.” -Henry David Thoreau
Spring has shown her face at Foley this week and if you are like me, that means digging out some boxes with lighter clothes in it, finding your rain jacket, and casting away your snow boots until next winter. After a few days of warm weather, it is easy to forget that it is only March, but the sun keeps coming and the temps keep rising. Obviously, everyone here at Foley has started to shift their work from a desk to some days spent getting activity areas prepped and windows clean.
|Geocaching during Spring 2010.|
Since I am a new Assistant Director, I have a lot of learning to do, and one of my tasks was to head up to Upper Mosquito and locate all the Geocaches (there are 26) and walk all the routes and trails that are tucked away back up there in the hills behind Foley (approximately 8 miles worth). If you’ll don’t know what Geocaching is, think of it as a real-life treasure hunt! You use a GPS device to locate different items, called caches, in the outdoors. You never know where the cache might be or what it might look like, but the GPS gives you the area to search in!. So, if you can imagine that, you can see that this day of learning for me would require a lot of hiking, a lot of leg muscle, and plenty of tick checks!
|One of many Foley Geocaching trails.|
As I got started on my trail hiking and started up the steep hill towards upper mosquito the sweat beads broke out on my forehead. My mind was filling with thoughts of how my body had gotten out of shape this winter, that my feet were already hurting and that I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore…I am turning 29 next month (eek)! But as I relaxed a little bit and let the bird noises and the sound of the wind suck me in, I felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and contentment. I was able to work on my Geocaching with energy and optimism (some are very hard to find) and had some undisturbed “me time” to be alone with my thoughts and process everything that had been rolling around in my head the last few months. And that’s when I realized, I have the woods to thank for this. There is no other place on Earth- no coffee shop, no cubicle, no library, that I can feel this clear-minded and youthful and just learn and grow more naturally.
So, my advice to you is, next time you’re feeling not quite like yourself, and your thoughts are running a bit on the self-loathing side, just get outside! Take that walk, sit in the sun for 10 minutes, or pack up your tent for the weekend and get out there. Your mind and body will thank you, as mine did.
If you are looking to have some fun with Geocaching then why not join over 5 million active geocachers worldwide! www.geocaching.com offers the choice of over 1.6 million geocaching locations, including all the coordinates you need to find their treasure. This website allows you to connect with other geocachers and share stories. Who knows… you may even make new friends along the way. Give it a shot!
– Carrie Stageman, Assistant Director.