There are days that are meant for feeding the soul. Today was one of those days. I went out for a 5.7 mile hike with 3 other women today. What a moving experience it was! We started mid-morning when the chill had not yet left the forest. The first 1/2 mile was straight up hill and before we reached the top, well the place where it leveled off into a more gentle switchback climb, I had shed one of my layers. We walked through shade and sun. We felt pockets of heat coming up from the valley below and chilly winds that whipped over the mountain top. It was 4 hours of change. It was 4 hours of physical challenge. It was 4 hours of wonder and joy.
Hiking in these mountains is always amazing. The ecosystems change as you ascend. At one point I looked out over a cove of trees with moss covered boulders at their bases. On the next turn there were lush ferns covering the ground. Much of the hike was technical and strenuous. Technical in that we had rocks in the path and roots to avoid tripping on. Strenuous in that we were climbing up about 80% of the time. It was so worth the climb. We reached a few pinnacles where the view was unobstructed. On this clear day I felt like I was seeing the end of the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance.
As we hiked we talked. We enjoyed each other's company. The dogs that accompanied us ran and played. At the 3/4 mark as if there was some unspoken agreement we walked in silence. It was peaceful. We were on a ridge with views and drop offs to either side of the single track path. My thoughts fell into place. My heart filled with joy and love. My creative spirit yearned to express itself. My soul filled and was fed by the beauty of the undisturbed wilderness around us. It was a glorious day in the woods!
As we say goodbye to the deep greens of summer I thought I'd honor that change with a French Lentil Salad. Each of the greens in this salad have a distinctly different flavor. I hope you enjoy it!
French Lentil Salad
1 pound dry lentils, cooked and drained
1/2 cup finely sliced scallions
1/2-1 cup chopped Italian parsley
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
Boil the lentils over medium to low heat for 30-45 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse them. While the lentils are cooking chop the other ingredients and combine in a bowl. Add the lentils and mix through. This can be eaten right away or served once the flavors have had time to mingle deeply.