What a walk can reveal

Title snake
It is as simple as taking some time for yourself.
So often are we scheduled from dawn until dusk, moving from meeting to meeting, checking the clock for what event awaits us next. With hardly a moment to breathe, we are already looking past what is in front of us, skimming over what marvels may meet us, on the daily life journeys we lead.
When we make the choice to, for a moment, embark upon a walk, we may find what a walk can truly reveal — about our selves and the world surrounding us.

I have looked to my Mother’s example. It may be morning. It may be evening. It may be during lunch. Growing up, I would see my Mother pumping her arms and extending her feet forward on the country road leading from our house for her walk, a time sacred to her and well-known to me. She would return, calmer than before, more centered, more alive. She would share a story of some fascinating discovery she encountered along the way. Sometimes, I would walk with her. We would engage more fully in conversation as we observed the world around us — a piece of old farm equipment, the golden sheen of wheat stalks in the evening light, a squirrel’s warning call from atop a Douglas fir tree.
Are there ever enough opportunities to go for a walk? Every moment is a potential calling for slipping on your shoes, putting on your jacket, and venturing forth from your four walls into the wildness of your neighborhoods, both great and small. Who knows what awaits you.
Take a step forward. Stretch your legs. Breathe. Go see what wonders you can find on a walk outside.
Below are some moments captured while taking a walk among the fall landscape surrounding the Environmental Learning Center.

EntranceSometimes the hardest part of walking is the first step, Sourdough Creek trail
Fungus 1
Decomposing mushrooms extend upwards in a snag along the Sourdough Creek trail
Fall colorsFall colors contrasting along the Sourdough Creek trail
Clark's Nutcracker
A Clark’s Nutcracker searching for insects in bark at the Learning Center
Sourdough CreekSourdough Creek as a raging torrent, fresh with new snowmelt
A garter snake shows its charismatic personality
Upclose nutcrackerAnother Clark’s Nutcracker looking for seeds, its feathers glossy from rain
The waterfall cascading at Sourdough Creek trail’s end
Photos courtesy of Kelsi K. Franzen.


  1. Leslie Franzen

    I am thrilled for the acknowledgement that this wisdom has been passed along to you – thanks for putting it into words and sharing the great photos along with it – you are in your element and I am glad to see you fly! Love you!

  2. Christian Martin

    It’s great to see the waterfall is back to life! Was just a trickle last time I was up there in October. Great photos of the snake and birds and mushrooms too. Thanks for sharing the everyday miracles of the ELC neighborhood with the rest of us.

  3. Amy Wilcox

    Thank you for this story Kelsi, and your reminder to take time to get outside. There are always 300 things to do after work, but you’ve inspired me to lace up my boots and hit the trail along the Skagit as soon as I get home!

  4. Chris Kelly

    Well said. I wish my neighborhood was as great as yours. I think I may just go hike up Beacon tonight after work. Your pictures are, as always, excellent.

  5. Kate Rinder

    Nice photos Kelsi, the snake is so awesome! Thanks again for being such an amazing NCI guide!!

  6. vida morkunas

    the snake is smiling 🙂

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