Forest Bathing (“Shinrin Yoku”) is a delightful form of contemplative walking in a wooded area, gently connecting us to the natural world through actively engaging our senses. Sound, sight, smell, taste and touch can heighten our awareness of the intricacy of the life all around us. Intentionally paying attention-while walking slowly, ‘and pausing often- can help us notice so much more than walking to ‘get somewhere’.
The health benefits of forest bathing are numerous: Moving our muscles increases the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, which helps decrease blood sugar and blood pressure. Our lymph system is primarily moved as muscles contract, and that helps rid us of waste products more quickly. Trees emit phytoncides, which are their way of fending off germs and insects…and, happily these aromatic oils stimulate our “natural killer cells”- which are lymphocytes able to bind to bacterial and virus-infected cells and tumor cells, and kill them! NK cells are unique: they have the ability to recognize stressed cells in the absence of antibodies, which allows for a much faster immune reaction.
Forest Bathing Walks with Ellen
Explore the paths and trails around Port Townsend and the Olympic National Forest with your guide Ellen, who will share nature poetry and a guided meditation along the way. Please leave your cell phones and furry companions behind. This is a time to be quiet, to sink into the natural silence of the woods with less of the usual distractions. Thank you in advance.
Upcoming Forest Bathing Walks at Fort Worden:
Weekly every Thursday morning from 9 AM to 10:30-11 AM. May 20th through June 17th, 2021. The schedule will be reconsidered as we receive guidance from our fellow walkers!
We will follow the WA. state guidelines for outdoor gathering as we follow the ebb and flow of the Covid-19 recovery stages.
Fort Worden State Park: We will meet and greet in front of the Nora Porter Commons Building, 210 Battery Way; and as we enter the “cathedral” of the park spaces we can walk comfortably and safely far apart without masks, or as you choose. Our walk follows paths linking the woods and meadows in the park. Several times we will pause, listen to a nature poem, or sit in silence with a bit of mindfulness meditation practice, led by Ellen Falconer, mindfulness teacher.
Come with us for a “Deep Soak” in the forest: All Day Hikes on the Olympic Peninsula:
- JULY 18th: Hike along the upper Dungeness River trail to Camp Handy. This trail is a “moderate-to-easy” stroll along the roaring river and among our friends the towering trees. Round-trip the route is 6.4 miles. We will pause several times along the rivers edge to sit in silence, journal or write a haiku! Pack snacks, water and a lunch. We will have lunch quietly together at Camp Handy. Details will be forth-coming when you register. Donations are heartily appreciated.
- AUGUST 8th: Hike along the Lower Big Quilcene River Trail to the Bark Shanty campsite, 2.7 miles in. There we will have a quiet lunch together. Round-trip is around 5.4 miles on this easy trail. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.
Details for possible car-pools, meeting times, etc; will be forth-coming when you register. (Cash Donations are accepted before the walk, in person, or by the PayPal button below.)
If you wish to express your gratitude you can donate via PayPal.
Ellen recites “When I am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver
Forest Bathing along the Upper Upper Dungeness River
“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding”
– FLUENT, by John O’Donohue