I headed out to hike at Wolsfeld Woods SNA last week. It’s one of my favorite Big Woods remnants in Minnesota. This is one of the places to go to feel connected to all that is sacred. Being in these woods nurtures my spirit.
Signs of Fall in Wolsfeld Woods
I love the towering sugar maples, basswoods, and oaks.
My hikes here are limited to spring before the mosquitoes arrive (before Memorial Day) and fall (after Labor Day) or winter, after the mosquitoes have disappeared. In the height of mosquito season this place is impossible for a mosquito magnet like me. Even last week a few mosquitoes found me.
As I entered the woods last week I noticed a path that I’d never noticed before. In almost 20 years of hiking these woods I couldn’t believe that this trail, which I saw almost as soon as I entered the woods had been there all along and I’d never seen how it veered off of the main path along a ridge before dropping down to a muddy creek-bed area. It was a reminder of how we often see what we expect to see and are blind to things we are not expecting.
I hiked down the trail because I hadn’t been on it before, only to have it disappear at the bottom of the ridge.
The bottom lands were open enough that I wandered for awhile wondering if I would pick up the trail again. I didn’t. But I loved the contrasts of seeing the woods from the high ridge looking down to the bright golden light in the more open area around the creek.
Because of all the rain we had throughout the summer the ground underneath the tall trees was greener than I’ve ever seen it this time of year. Colonies of small maple trees carpeted any area that received enough light to nourish the baby trees.
The ferns that nestled in shady areas near the creek were tall, graceful, and still lushly green. It would not have surprised me to see a fairy emerge from beneath a shady bower among the ferns.
When the fall colors are at their peak, hiking these woods feels like being in a golden cathedral with gold leaves above me and golden leaves paving the trail beneath my feet. It’s far too early for the golden cathedral feeling but I did see a few treetops already turning.
The feeling of fall is certainly in the air. And fall colors will be arriving soon. I plan to visit Wolsfeld Woods often this fall and hopefully be there when it feels like a golden cathedral.
Where do you go to feel connected to the sacred?
May you walk in beauty.