A Walk in the Woods

July 16, 2012 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

This weekend a few girlfriends and I drove and hour and a half into the Sierras and explored Nevada City, a cute, hippy, bourgeois, old west town in California. In addition to shopping and lunching we took a few different walks. In the morning, before it got too hot, we walked the Independence Trail, an easy 1 1/2 mile out and back over the Yuba River. The water was too low–not enough snow this year!–to see the waterfall that is usually at the end of the trail, but it was still a beautiful walk and we had fun doing different yoga poses along the old flume bridges and in random spots.


After exploring the town (which smells like nag champa, by the way. seriously, the whole town.) and supporting the local economy, we headed out to the Yuba River for some more walking and swimming. We drove down a windy dirt road that reminded me of high school in West Virginia and then set out to find the “secret” swimming hole another friend had told us about.

We walked out for a mile and a half, and along the way kept passing beautiful blue green pools that looked sooo appealing, even though they were crowded.  We finally found “the twisted tree” and walked down a path to the river…right into a group’s camp where everyone was taking an afternoon nap…which was awkward…but we tried not to be disruptive and jumped into the water.


The water was so nice, not too cold but wonderful, clean, mountain water. There were a ton of dragonflies that were mating and they kept landing on us and mating on our shoulders. We swam and sunbathed and did more yoga poses for a few hours and then headed back out the trail. We missed a turn and added about a mile to our walk but made it back to the car and figured we had walked at least 7 miles that day. Besides the poison oak you had to watch out for, and a few mosquitoes, it was a great walk and so beautiful.

During the majority of those miles I practiced my chi walking. Good posture (of course), smaller stride, a simple transfer of weight (as opposed to pushing off), relaxed ankles, rotating pelvis; sort of like a slow motion speed walker form. There are so many moving parts to this chi running stuff, so I’m practicing baby steps every day. The hardest part so far is relaxing while engaging my core. It’s the “needle in cotton” key principle–your spine is the needle and the rest of your body is the cotton–and it’s going to take a lot of practice and focus to get there. I didn’t really realize how much I don’t relax, and conversely, how much tension I hold.  I mean, I knew, because I have been dealing with back troubles for a while now, but I thought I was a pretty relaxed person. Turns out I’m not but I think that will make this journey that much more rewarding.

Tonight I’m taking my hard yoga class and afterward I want to do some chi running practice. I used to think yoga and running were the antithesis of each other and would never dream of “ruining” my yoga practice by running right afterward but I think focusing on the ‘needle in cotton’ form will be easier after yoga. Stay tuned.


Entry filed under: Hiking, Swimming, Walking. Tags: , , , , , .

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