Last Friday, I took a new friend out for a hike in the woods.
We had met through mutual friends, and she’s always been an outdoorsy type (she even raises goats!!!). She expressed interest in going on a hike with me, so we planned on meeting and walking the Spicewood Valley Trail.
It was a drizzly day, just wet enough to make sure that the rocks were wet and slippery. The clouds above suggested a downpour, but luckily we were only gifted with a fine drizzle that kept us cool and moving. I told stories of various runs I’d led there, of the amazing animals that lived in those woods, and pointed out various birds. She’s apparently a patient soul and listened politely to all my rambling.
I led her up a ledge near a waterfall and to the top of a small ridge. We sat, looking at the ducks swimming in the pond. We’d been sharing jokes and talking about our significant others, but at this point in our journey we remained quiet, listening to the chirping of birds and the stillness of the woods. It really was quite the relaxing day.
I’m all about getting people outdoors, but this hike (with one person who I don’t know all that well) could have turned into an awkward outing punctuated only by uncomfortable silences. Instead, we made a wonderful connection. After our hike at Spicewood Valley, we took another walk at St. Edward’s Park, and then spent dinner eating tacos and talking about all sorts of subjects, from politics to shoes and everything in between.
The reason I’m bringing up this particular story is that love of nature isn’t something that needs to be instilled over a 6-month long hike in the wilderness or a stint in the Swiss Alps. St. Ed’s and Spicewood Valley may not have the objective aesthetic appeal of some of the other wonders of the world, but they are certainly wondrous in the way that a day walking on their trails can lead to sincere, genuine connection between people.
That’s one reason why I’m so excited about my 3 part hiking talk series we’re announcing at ATRC, as well as my short hiking series, the dates of which you can find by checking out our events page on this website. I hope that soon I’ll get to share my love of the Hill Country with more of y’all.