top of page

First time: I went hiking with my sisters


Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.
Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.

Earlier this month, I hiked with my sisters and it was a real treat, offering a break from our daily routines and a chance to enjoy nature together. Our latest adventure took us to the Ramapo Reservation hiking trail, where we decided to tackle the yellow trail. This experience was not just a hike; it was a pleasant journey where we embraced the simple pleasures of life and remained present. It was my first time hiking. That's all I'm going to say about that.


As we set out on the yellow trail, I was struck by the natural beauty around us. The trail was alive with the sounds of chirping birds and rustling leaves, creating a symphony that accompanied our every step. Actually, the discovery of this symphony seemed serendipitous once we decided to calm down one of our exuberant canteen water bottles which had been clink clanking with the ice as we walked the tranquil trail.


The air was crisp and invigorating, filling our lungs with a freshness that only the great outdoors can provide. The "hellos" and "good mornings" from the oncoming hikers were unsettling at first, because I they threw off my mental zone, but after a while I found myself looking forward to the next troupe.


One of the highlights of our hike were the serene creeks we encountered along the way. The water flowed effortlessly, weaving through the landscape with a grace that was almost mesmerizing. It cascaded over boulders and large rocks, creating a soothing melody that was both calming and uplifting. A reminder of the importance of being like water in our every day lives--flowing in and out, over and under, and through the challenging and pleasant moments.



"Don't quit!" Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.
"Don't quit!" Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.


The hike was more than just a visual experience; it was an experience that touched my soul. The simplicity of the journey allowed us to be fully present, savoring each moment and appreciating the company of one another. There was no rush, no pressure to keep up with a schedule. We moved at our own pace, waited for each other when needed, and offered support and encouragement along the way. It was a perfect time, where we could be our true selves and enjoy the freedom of the open trail.


Our conversations flowed as effortlessly as the creeks we crossed. There was an unspoken understanding between us, a sense of camaraderie that needed no words. We checked on each other, ensuring everyone was comfortable and happy, but we also gave each other space to explore and reflect. It was a balance that happened naturally, without any planning or structure.


In other words, this pleasant human existence occurred out of pure natural instinct.



Leaves of all kinds living in harmony. Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.
Leaves of all kinds living in harmony. Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.


As we hiked, I couldn't help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for these moments. Life can often be chaotic and demanding, pulling us in different directions and leaving little time for meaningful connections. My life runs at 100mph even during calm moments, because my mind races with the planning and risk aversion for my daughters. But here, on the yellow trail, time seemed to slow down. The worries and stresses of daily life faded away, replaced by a profound sense of peace and contentment. I would never had considered myself an outdoorsy type, however in the last 5 years I have found myself seeking and leaning on nature more often--for healing, for stopping, for no reason at all. I frequently found nature a more supportive safe space than humans.


The scenery continued to amaze us at every turn. We encountered lush greenery, towering trees that formed a canopy overhead, and vibrant wildflowers that added splashes of color to the landscape. The trail itself was well-marked and easy to follow, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the experience without any concerns about getting lost.


Despite the occasional challenge, such as navigating rocky terrain or steep inclines, (or my sister considering that we leap over a huge log resting on the edge of a short, yet high enough cliff), we embraced each obstacle with a sense of adventure and determination. It was a metaphor for life itself, reminding us that while the path may not always be easy, the journey is what truly matters. We celebrated our small victories, whether it was reaching the top of a hill or simply taking a moment to catch our breath and admire the view.



Waterfall sign. Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.
Waterfall sign. Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.


When we had finally reached our golden point of the trail--a beautiful waterfall, a big sense relief transpired. For me, it felt cleansing just watching the waters fall. The translation of the water from land to air then safely back to land made me feel like everything will be all right. Fittingly enough, there was even a couple on a baby moon photoshoot.


As we neared the end of the trail, there was a sense of fulfillment that enveloped us. We had shared a beautiful experience, one that would become a cherished memory in the tapestry of our lives. The hike was not just about the destination; it was about the journey, the moments of connection, and the appreciation of the simple joys that often go unnoticed in the chaos of everyday life.


In the end, our hike on the yellow trail at Ramapo Reservation was more than just a walk in the woods. It was a testament to the power of nature, the strength of familial bonds, and the beauty of living in the moment. As we made our way back to the starting point, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for my sisters, for the incredible journey we had shared, and for the timeless memories we had created together. It was a perfect time, indeed, and one that I will carry with me always.



Waterfall. Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.
Waterfall. Ramapo Reservation on the Yellow trail. Photograph by Martha Argelia. June 2024.


Peace,

MA


Self portrait. Martha Argelia. June 2024.
Self portrait. Martha Argelia. June 2024.