Finding Peace In Nature
Growing up I was always fascinated by far off places. Places in the world that seemed to be created in some mind of a genius that could just never be real or tangible. I remember staring at the TV in peace watching Discovery documentaries and can still recall the beauty of the Icebergs in the Antarctic or the hidden pools trapped in sand dunes. Even the massive waterfall in Iceland seemed to come alive from a mystical novel and humbled all those who entered. I longed to find the oasis and capture the majesty and emotion that presents itself in my own way. John Muir once wrote, "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." We all seek some form of isolation when we venture out into the unknown. Whether it be from troubles or worries, or just a break from one's own mind; we seek this calling from inside of us to escape and find something new.
My travels through Europe (mainly Austria) fulfilled this vision. A journey I was lucky enough to have with my beautiful girlfriend. I find that when I'm in the mountains I am reborn and recharged. Even just the sight of a waterfall makes me step back and truly soak in the majesty that is nature. As a lifestyle adventure and travel photographer, I have been blessed to experience surreal landscapes, as well as meeting people who would not have been possible without photography. I have witnessed incredibly vast waterfalls that make you shake as you approach them and humble you by sheer magnitude and power.
Unlike most, Göllinger Waterfall demanded attention differently. This greatness was humbling, yet gentle. Traveling to this waterfall, my girlfriend, Cindy, and I had been going all day from one location to the next. Working on the road comes with many challenges that make you feel rushed and distracted from the main focus of earth’s natural beauty. Cindy, being my usual model, understands the craziness of work and play. We try to carve out as much time as we can to have moments for ourselves. However, this trip called for long car rides and miles of hiking. Sunset was approaching quickly so we needed to get in and out before we hit our last location.
Strapping on our packs of gear and company merchandise, we began the long trail of switchbacks through the forest to reach the waterfall. Heads down, not saying much, we pushed on. Watching the river continuously spread wider across the valley and down the mountain we could hear the rush of water coming off the mountain face grow louder and louder. As usual, Cindy is about twenty paces ahead of me. Scaling the cliff side, I came up to the final bend before the waterfall. I heard the water slapping the rocks and turned, expecting to be blown away by the magnitude of power that is pouring off this mountain, but instead — I was taken back.
Cindy was standing right at the base, motionless. Staring up at the water which seemed to be flowing in slow motion ever so gracefully off this mountain side. Standing in awestruck... we stood silent. This waterfall, a lonesome cavern in the middle of the forest, exhibited calmness and serenity. Yes, there was power, but it was a gentle power. I have never seen a waterfall that seemed to flow like silk.
The roar rang in our ears, yet we could still hear the multitude of birds chirping and flying around. There was a cloud of mist hovering over us and not a soul in sight. Before we started our shoot we just stood there, watching the water stream off of the mountain and crash into the crystal pool below. The perfection and simple beauty of this hidden gem demanded our respect and attention.
After standing in admiration, we continued to the top of the waterfall. Sitting there, Cindy and I soaked in the first sense of peace we experienced in three days. This was longed for and gratefully welcomed. Feeling no sense of urgency, Cindy and I decided to skip our last location and let ourselves get lost in this surrounding. Finding the peace that I always seek, yet somehow lost on the trip. I was brought back to my center. This is why I seek to wander. The beauty of God’s creation was made for us to protect and in return — enjoy.
"In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks," again, John Muir. And he's right. Experiences like these are ones I hold dear to my heart and will always answer to wander and escape because "The mountains are calling and I must go."
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About The Author
Forrest Blake is a lifestyle adventure and travel photographer/videographer, who's always traveling and sharing his experiences through Instagram and Youtube. He is currently working on travel projects; as well as his very own personal film called Expedition Wander — which will be released Fall 2017. To delve more into Forrest's expeditions, make sure to visit his website.