The Wild

Did you see this movie, with Reese Witherspoon playing Cheryl Strayed hiking the Pacific Crest Trail?  I loved it.  What you may not know about me is that after college I went out to California to work for the Sequoia National Forest.  I worked out there for 8 years.  Besides that, I also got to do my Master’s research on a small island in Southeast Alaska with one other friend for three months, and I also worked on a Seabird study with a handful of guys from the Fish and Wildlife Service, where we went up and down the California coast studying bird colonies.  When I first arrived on the Hot Springs Ranger District, at age 21, I had a job surveying hiking trails.  One trail I hiked up as I approached the Redwood grove that the trail led to, suddenly I felt like I was being watched.  I stopped.  I felt something very strange.  I looked around and suddenly I realized that I was in the grove.  There were giant trees around me.  They were breathtaking.  I had literally not seen the forest for the trees, no, make that the trees for the forest, or whatever.  I will not forget that moment, where I felt the trees before I saw them.  One other story for today.  I was hiking above that area not long after.  A giant bird flew out of a tree above me.  I could see huge wing feathers, and white under the wings.  It was so large I felt like my heart stopped.  I was excited to tell the wildlife biologist when I got back to the office, but when he showed me the chart of large birds, I knew it was larger than a turkey vulture but didn’t look like a bald eagle.  I didn’t want to suggest the condor because I was a college girl from the East Coast, and since they supposedly weren’t in the area, I would have been laughed back to the East.  So I kept quiet and agreed it must have been an eagle.  A couple of years later some friends of mine were working in the area and saw a condor, and they had a camera.  Big discovery!  It turned out there was a nesting pair in an old redwood tree.  One day before I moved back to the east I saw them soaring over the valley.  Amazing.  What does this have to do with fitness?  I don’t know, but I wanted to write about it today.  Have a great week!

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