Into the Woods

comments: 122






























Enchanted forest. This is the west end of the Old Salmon River Trail. It's just outside of Welches, Oregon, in Mt. Hood National Forest. I think it's our favorite walk (also pictured here and here). I'm hard-pressed to find an easier (it's flat and wide), more beautiful hike, fairly close to home. My hiking abilities are about on par with our two-year-old's (and here's her sweater, by the way). I don't care how far (not far) we go, just get me to the quiet sitting-down place and I can stay for hours, listening to the river, watching for birds or slugs, making stone soup, smelling the evergreens and the moss and the mud. It's a wild, twisting, silver-greened, soft-floored forest, so different from the upright, oak-filled midwestern woods I grew up walking in. I never liked to go very much, then. We were required to, and I balked at being made to go. As an adult, I'm much more sympathetic to my dad's intentions. But for many years I wanted nothing less than to go into the woods. I walked — oh how I walked! — but only ever among the houses, in the neighborhoods, and for miles and miles and miles, everywhere. Anywhere. But always in town. At some point, when I started living with Andy and we moved to Montana, I let the woods back into my life. Not long after that, I was run over by a truck and my left foot was destroyed. They put it back together, but it's a patchworked, fragile, frustrated thing, protected with gel pads and compression stockings and the special silly-looking orthopedic shoe I wear with every step I take, even just when going across the room. It usually hurts. But in the woods I do not care how it feels. I just feel happy. We wander and amble, stop and sit. She prances and talks. She sings and babbles, pointing, chattering away like a little bird. She cooks in puddles and throws sand. She is always carrying something — a stick, a leaf, a flower, a handful of rocks. She squats to look, or does her funny, swaggering walk, like she owns the place. She gets carried on her dad's shoulders when she's done. He carries me too, in our own way. I want my girl to love the woods. And I think she does.


It can be a challenge to have physical limitations, I'm dealing with some myself. Being out in the woods...the beautiful, lovely, enchanting woods can be so soothing and joyful. I love your pictures and I'm glad for your day.

sally Derevan says: January 16, 2015 at 08:54 AM

Your pictures of the woods show your deep love for them, as do the photos of your daughter and husband. Your daughter is so lovely, and her outfits are darling. Keep walking and don't forget your camera. Thanks for all the gorgeous pictures!

Just beautiful! Her outfit is so cute! Your words are wonderful. What love and light you have!

You are my hero.

How very brave and courageous you are...truly. I love the woods, but haven't gone back in a while...for health reasons. But that sounds silly now that I write it, as going into the woods is probably the healthiest thing I can do for myself right now. I adore you, your writing, your daughter, your little family.

I remember seeing photos of similar hikes before the little one came into you life, at least I think it was the same hike. The little one adds so much life to the experience and the photos. I really hope she continues to wear your knits as she gets older. I'm facing a bit of rebellion with my own daughter who wants now to pick her own clothes and that rarely includes the pieces that I've knit for her. Of course, yours are far better which probably adds a lot of appeal to a fashion-minded girl.

One of the hardest parts of being hurt (aside from the pain) was not being able to get out and enjoy nature like we usually do. I can remember so much, how I grabbed onto each slight feeling of improvement and got myself to beautiful places just to sit. And that helped the healing too. 1+ year post that horrible sciatica bout I still remember the pain and all the emotions that go along with it so vividly.

Your outlook here, is so positive. That truly is a beautiful trail and walk. Going to the trees certainly is a balm for the soul.

beautiful place and pictures! kind of one of my favourite places. Your little girl is so beautiful as well and the sweater!
The picture of the little one looking at the light is just wonderful! Thank you for sharing

Thank you for taking us through the woods with you. It was wonderful to see all that beauty and variety of things God has created there.

It's good to know there are pleasures greater than the pain you suffer. My DH also suffers and when he talks about things that require intense focus or experiences that reach above the pain, it's medicine for me.

Your photographs make me all happy inside.

So enchanted, and enchanting. She is such a treasure, and you both as such wonderful parents.

The photos today are so clear! I feel like I'm there and I grew up by the NW woods. So special.
You are a good mommy-trooper. I can tell M loves to explore with her loving parents.

She is so beautiful...everything about her. What a blessing.

Oh such magical photographs! Our woods is now covered in snow. How lush and enchanting yours looks. Wonderful pictures. Wonderful words. Thank you!

This place we live in is so amazing.

These pictures are so beautiful. I'm not an outdoorsy kind of person, but these (and all your other photo) make me want to become one. All that moss! Thank you for sharing your photos, including those with your little family.

Beautiful, beautiful Oregon. Thank you for sharing with us. I'm so glad you've regained your appreciation for and ability to walk the woods in time to share with Amelia.

LindaSonia says: January 16, 2015 at 10:17 AM

As advancements in medicine are constantly being made, perhaps there's something new they can do for you to ease your pains.

Delightful post! The woods look so peaceful and serene. The sweater is beautiful. I have made note of the pattern as I would love to knit one for my little girl too. : )

so calm and dappled and serene … love 13woods14 … so perfect, her looking toward the light and the detail of her braid … like a painting … i think so many of us think of your life as 'perfect', at least i have had those thoughts … but to hear your honesty about your pain, still, after so many years … it is encouraging how engaged you are in life despite all that … you bring much beauty to this world … thank you

You live in a magnificent part of the world!
That little mushroom shot..the glorious majestic trees..and your little peanut.

she surely does own the place. precious pictures as always, thank you.

These pictures are so beautiful. Sharing your adventures feels like a real treat! I too grew up in the midwest ( Chicago suburbs), and I was never an outdoor person. I now live in the rural Ozark Mountains of Arkansas with my farm boy husband and he has helped me greatly appreciate the outdoors. We live in and near such beautiful places, it sometimes takes my breath away. You are a brave and beautiful lady and I admire you. Have a great day!

Could that outfit be ANY cuter???????????


I can guarantee that she will love the woods since you are taking her to such magical places and letting her adventure and play along the way. You and Andy are awesome parents. Raising a child gives you an opportunity not to make the same mistakes as your own parents. I was the Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader and the Dairy Goat 4-H leader.. things my mother never would have done for me. :-)

((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at