In our Easter egg coma this morning we packed up some sandwiches and bottles of water and headed to Tyresta national park and nature reserve for a day hike and picnic. We had no idea what to expect other than the fact that I had read that the park was one of Sweden's largest untouched forest areas outside of the mountain region. We took the subway train and then switched to a bus at a station just south of the city. While on the bus my husband realized that his very, old, hiking boots, which had lived in the garage through triple-digit summers for many years back in Texas, were starting to come apart. The rubber inside the heal on both shoes was disintegrating and crumbling out. Holy cow.
We discussed turning around and heading back home but we were nearly there at this point so we decided to just take it step by step, literally. The hiking trails were amazing. We hiked over trails largely comprised of criss-crossing tree roots, areas of flat rock, up and down rolling hills as well as parts of the trail completely covered in snow. The forest floor was covered in vibrant, green moss in many parts and if you stopped and stood still, there wasn't a sound to be heard, other than the creaking of trees rubbing together when the wind blew or the soft murmuring of water beginning to flow through the streams.
The shoes were "holding up". Let's just say he was not yet walking in his socks but as I watched him walking ahead of me I could see his poor, little ankles pronating inwardly because there was no support left in the inner heal of the shoes. I kept asking if he wanted to turn around and head back but he wanted to push on. What a trooper. I can understand why he wanted to continue on. Being in the forest was like getting a natural, energy boost. Smelling the fresh air, crunching across pine needles and ice and just communing with nature in general is something that cannot be replaced when you live in a hustling and bustling city, filled with all of the smells and sounds associated with city living. No, this was a healing experience as well as an adventure.
At one point in the hike when we'd come to a particularly beautiful area, my husband said,"I really want to skip but I'm scared to." Afraid his shoes would be completely toasted if he did so. The image made me smile all the way to my core and I said, "I'll skip for you!" And I skipped ahead.
Skipping in the forest is something I highly recommend if you have not experienced it before. Skipping, contrary to popular belief, is not just for kids. Or rather, it is for kids of all ages and especially for those in their forties. We had our picnic, had a good laugh about his "hiking flip-flops", as the entire back end on both shoes was now flapping as he walked, and then started making our way back to our starting point. Need-less-to-say, we did manage to make it home with shoes on the bottom of his feet, but just barely. It was a lovely afternoon and I can honestly say that I know someone who deserves a foot rub.