What is a “soul restoration” hike?
There are certain hikes that put me into a calm and pleasant head space, each and every time I go there. I coined the term “soul restoration” hike for these places, as I will seek them out again and again to reach that near- nirvana. In order for a hike to meet my criteria as a soul restoration hike, it must have all of several attributes:
- I have done the hike at least five times, to test the waters, and see if it “accomplishes” the same thing for me each time. Of course it’s not a matter of accomplishment, it’s just something that happens.
- I have variable and overwhelming positive associations with both the trail and the destination.
- I anticipate and have confidence in the state of mind that will come as a result of getting there and being there.
- Experience dictates that the effects of such “soul restoration” hikes will last…for hours, days, weeks to come.
- There is a natural beauty and peace that goes beyond that which the eye can see. It’s a calming and meditative type of place where only good thoughts and feelings are allowed to enter. I am truly in my element there.
One of these hikes is oh so very close to where I finished my first solo backpack trip last week. That hike took me out of Easy Pass Trailhead, off of Highway 20 in the North Cascades. Just ten minutes east is the trailhead for Rainy Pass Day Use Area, home to Maple Pass/Lake Ann loop trail. That hike is one of my soul restoration day hikes, and I am drawn there like a magnet each time I am in close physical proximity. Two other times I have done the 7.5 mile loop after a backpack trip, and the thought to do so again formulated early on the last backpack trip. My decision was all but confirmed when I ran into two female hikers on my way down Easy Pass, who said they had done Maple Pass/Lake Ann the previous day. They reported that the trail had a fair amount of snow, but was “so very beautiful”.
“Don’t I know it!”, I thought, and knew I would go there.
Lake Ann/Maple Pass day hike
I have been on this hike the two times previously following backpack trips, a handful of times by myself, and once with my kids when they were quite young. ALL these trips have intensely positive associations and great memories, and the scenery is simply unbeatable. Since the day I set out was mostly clear, I knew I would be in for a real treat! I was looking forward to getting completely squared away in the head, heart, and soul. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that I came out of my solo backpack trip feeling any major unrest…but I was drawn to the ease and predictability of the loop hike. It’s me in my happiest place…one step after the next, up the pass, along the pass, and back down again. Simplicity and Presence prevail.
All I can say is that the hike delivered as promised. Here are some scenes from my time there…I trust that readers will go if desired and formulate their own experiences and memories. 🙂
Scenes from Maple Pass/Lake Ann
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