I lived in Fort Collins for a good chunk of time and there was a popular hike nearby that I loved to do. It was short and strenuous, perfect for someone with a busy schedule. The views from the summit were incredible with the blue reservoir and the red sandstone rocks below. I have a vivid memory of going on this hike on a beautiful spring day. It was the perfect temperature with very few clouds in the sky. I found myself lucky that I decided to go on a weekday because there were very few people on the trail. Solo and isolated hikes have always been my absolute favorite. As I hiked on this particular day, I noticed that the vegetation was damp due to a recent rain and it brought out many refreshing smells. I could smell the pine needles and the butterscotch scent from the Ponderosa trees. I hadn't realized how much I needed the hike until I was already well on my way. The thing is, hiking is like my church. Anytime I hike, I'm able to go into a deep meditation and become acutely aware of my surroundings while being cognizant of all the outside blessings of my life. It is spiritual, moving, and healing and I always leave the mountain feeling grounded, stronger, and at peace. This particular hike brought that and then some.
When I reached the summit on Arthur's Rock, I was all alone as if it was my own private peak. I sat for awhile eating a snack and taking in the views. The rolling green hills that slowly turned into plains seemed to go on forever. As I was sitting there, I heard a peculiar sound of a light, almost inaudible rustling. I looked up to see a few turkey vultures soaring close to the peak I was sitting on. The rustling sound I heard was the feathers on the turkey vultures' wings cutting through the air. I became overwhelmed with awe and gratitude that it was silent enough for me to hear such a subtle sound. It was beautiful and one of the most peaceful moments I've ever experienced on a hike. I laid back and watched them soar around for awhile. The other beautiful part is that I had no obligations that day, no one was expecting anything from me and I was not on any time limit. So, I sat, watched, and took it all in. I felt as though I was breathing in the mountain and all of its life and breathing out love and peace. On the hike back down, I felt light and rejuvenated. I ate a delicious meal when I got home and slept so soundly. I don't think I'll ever forget it.