Meditation Hike @ Umstead State Park (Company Mill Trail)

This is the hike that we were going to do in September, but because of heavy rains cancelled.  I'm hoping that Mother Nature will be more cooperative this time around (most hikes are "rain or shine" but because of the length and difficulty of this hike it's weather dependent).

This meditation hike will take place at Umstead State Park that is located off of I-40 at the Harrison Ave. exit (east of the RDU airport exits, and west of Blue Ridge Rd. and Edwards Mill Rd.).

We'll be hiking the Company Mill trail - which is a 6-mile loop which should take about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. This is one of the most difficult (and delightful) hikes in the local area with rooty and rocky trails (watching one's step is a focusing exercise in and of itself!), and up and down elevation shifts (including stairs and switchbacks).

Only register for this walk if you're used to this type of terrain and have recently hiked/walked for three hours with few/no stops! You will need to carry water with you, a small camera (or your cell phone camera), and your journal/pen - a fanny pack or backpack is recommended.

For this walk, we'll have our together talking time while walking on the initial piece of trail until we reach the bridge (photo above) which will be the jumping off point for silence as we cross over the creek to the circular section of the trail. Then after we finish the loop section of the trail, we'll sit for a while on a river rock to journal (you'll need to carry a journal with you) before crossing back over the bridge which will end our silence - allowing together talking time for the last part of the walk.

The circular portion of the trail has two crossings with the park's bike/bridle trails so that we have three defined sections for meditation walking. The first section we'll use to ask a question; the second section we'll use photography as a focusing practice (bring a small camera or plan on using the camera on your silenced cell phone); and, the third section will be filled with gratitudes. More about all of this when we meet.

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  • Ross

    Umstead Walk

    Pausing as sunlight strikes
    the lower boles of pine and sweet gum,
    dry sunlit needles
    rest upon the old roadbed

    The peace that settles in the fall air,
    noticing the felt sense of openness,
    aware of the space between thoughts
    in these empty moments, God rushes in Ah… the many shapes of the mind-
    like phases of the moon,
    different twists the mind puts on things,
    how it spins and purrs
    to keep you thinking and analyzing-
    but I too hear the crunch of leaves under my feet
    as I walk along the drainages of these fine ridges

    I too notice the sweating stones
    that bead up in the humid air
    I too hear the soft cascade of twin waterfalls
    along the laurel shaded creek I too see the miraculous-
    a strawberry bush growing
    right out of rock on a slanting cliff.
    Like this red-fruited shrub holding on-
    we too can find the fertile soil of the divine
    between the boulders of everyday living

    Ross Andrews

    December 12, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The walk had a powerful, positive effect on me.

    December 9, 2012

  • Carl T.

    Wonderful facilitation and weather. I was challenged to maintain gratitude, kept running away to other thoughts. Sitting by the creek, my pen danced with deep gratitude for 1/2 page!!

    December 9, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wrong place! So sorry

    December 9, 2012

  • Leslie G.

    Last Wednesday the trees were calling to me on my way into work, so I managed to take off most of the afternoon for a meditation hike on the Company Mill trail. The trails were technicolor leaf carpets; and, with so many leaves down there were amazing vistas to be seen. At one point a black bird with a 4' wing span came swooshing out of a nearby bush and we shared a mutual 15-second surprise party. I'm looking forward to hiking again on the 9th.

    1 · November 19, 2012

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