A Walk In The Woods

Lately Betty has been singing the praises of “forest bathing”, something she does on a daily basis at our “Living Forest” campsite. No, she’s not talking about setting up a tub in the woods. She’s referring to the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku – absorbing the forest atmosphere. This past week provided an opportunity to share this form of regeneration with our two fabulous daughters – Valerie & Lisa. Our walks in the woods together were wonderfully restorative experiences! Here are a few highlights:

Valerie, her mom, Lisa, Charlie & I hiked the appropriately-named “Tranquility Trail” in Nanaimo’s Morrell Nature Sanctuary. A mellow meander!
The trail took us up and down one of the many paths within Morrell’s private teaching forest. More than just a breath of fresh air!

Lisa & Valerie were able to escape Manitoba’s deep snow for a few days of reconnecting with the old folks. They caught us up on what was happening with their families, and were interested in hearing stories about our early lives, our parents, and grandparents. The reminiscing was good, but just chillin’ together was the best!

After flying in from Winnipeg, Valerie & Lisa settled into a nearby airbnb, where we shared a meal together. Other meals included steak and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus back at our motorhome, and fish & chips in Victoria

I’ll let the following pictures tell the story of our all-too-brief memory-making time together:

One of our first hikes was around Nanaimo’s Neck Point Park. While there was no snow, winter coats remained on for this unseasonably cold week.
A sailboat plied the waters of the Georgia Strait, with mountains in the background and a pod of seals in the foreground.
Valerie, Lisa and their mom stop for a picture during our Neck Point hike, near a spot where whales are usually visible. Unfortunately none made an appearance for us.
Betty & Valerie practiced a little yoga at a scenic look-out.
On a day trip to Victoria, Lisa caught up with a UVic colleague, while Betty, Valerie & I toured nearby Butchart Gardens.
We were too early in the season for many flowers, but the daffodils are in full bloom.
The amazing Gardens include a number of paths, with many providing a regenerative forest bath.
Many fountains bring the park to life. Bet and Valerie stop for a pic near this dramatic pond.
A dragon spits out a fountain of water in a feature donated by a Japanese sister city.
Bright red berries liven up a garden that is not yet in full bloom.
A halo of sun highlights these two angels.

Forest bathing is said to be good for both physical and mental health. It reduces stress, increases feelings of happiness, and calls for a creative response. It lowers one’s heart rate and blood pressure, and is said to boost the immune system and accelerate healing. It’s all good!

We all breathed in the abundant fresh air at Morrell Nature Sanctuary.
On our hike, we stopped to reflect across the still waters of Morrell Lake.

With all the strife, sickness, and separation endemic in our world these days, may we each take Betty’s advice to go for a walk in the woods, and immerse ourselves for a while in a regenerative, deep breathing forest bath.

Everywhere we looked, old and new life came together in most creative ways.


Sun shines off a mossy outcrop in the forest – a great place to stop, breath deeply, and reflect.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,  
But I have promises to keep,  
And miles to go before I sleep,  
And miles to go before I sleep.
” Robert Frost.