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.


I haven't even read the text portion of this post yet, but OH, those moss covered branches has me yearning hard for the PNW. So beautiful. Alright, onto the words. <3

what amazing thing nature is! beautiful photos and your little girl is growing up so fast before our eyes...
Im sorry your foot is causing you discomfort and pain, Ive been reading your blog for such a long time and have read about your story over the years...
Im so pleased the woods made you happy, I wish I had some nearby I can go exploring too...

"She gets carried on her dad's shoulders when she's done. He carries me too, in our own way." Beautifully said. You and Andy have made a lovely life for your family since the accident. Love goes so far.

I wish I knew how to use my camera like you do. So much depth to your photos that I feel like I could step over the bottom edge of one of your photos and into the picture itself. Beautiful!

Enchanted indeed! Look at the beautiful life you continue to create.


My father was a huge hiker in the Sierras as well as the northwest, and when young climbed all the major peaks in the west, including Mt Hood. We went to Yosemite National Park a lot (we lived in Stockton, CA then) and climbed Glacier Point so many times when the park was still doing the Fire Falls at night. I am giving my age away, but I sometimes dreaded those hikes. As an adult I am such a lover of snow, hiking, mountains and generally being outdoors whenever I can, in any form of weather. I think your little girl will grow up with a similar love and passion. Such beautiful photography!

Oh, these photographs are purely magical. What amazing, wonderful woods those are! I kept waiting to see a little family of fairies join Amelia on her little walk. Thank you so much for sharing the beauty of your hike. :)

Beautiful, beautiful!
Hooray for walks in the woods, and for checked shirts!

Beautiful, beautiful!
Hooray for walks in the woods, and for checked shirts!

Does the wonderful sweater come in an adult version? It would be great for us full size ladies.
Thank You

Alicia, I am so sorry to hear that you are still suffering from your accident. You would never know it with your positive attitude and positive outlook on life. You are truly an inspiration!

Hi Alicia,

I've read every post you've written, and I believe this is the first time you've told us you are in constant pain. Thank you for sharing this (albeit troubling) fact with us. It gives us hope that our lives, too, can be filled with beauty amidst ongoing suffering.

I love seeing her in all your knitted garments. It's so hard to even get those finished before the child has already outgrown them. My hat is off to you.

I always love your walk posts. They take me right to the woods near my grandmother's house where everything is moist and green and mossy. I'm always on the look out for those neat little mushrooms. I can't wait for the snow to disappear here (quite a wait yet) so my daughter can also walk along picking up sticks and rocks and poking at green growing things.

Enchanted forest is right..all those teals, greens, grays..just gorgeous! You always capture the magic of Mother Nature. And, your little girl looks right at home there.

Michael Payne says: January 18, 2015 at 04:45 PM

A regular little wood sprite. Makes me smile.

Ooh...this looks like Redwood National Forest with the delicious moss covered tree trunks and all of the ferns! How very beautiful. You are a strong woman, Alicia. You are. xo Jen BTW -- Happy Belated Birthday!

Your photos are like heaven. This place is on my bucket list! THANK YOU for sharing this beauty!!!

Dianne Murcutt says: January 18, 2015 at 10:58 PM

Hello Alicia, I just love your photo's, something else you are good at.......I was upset to hear about your foot. I did read about your accident, but didn't realise you are still having problems with it. Having a foot that hurts is so frustrating, I have plantar fascitis...which is a pain, but not to your extent. I wish you well, love your photo's seeing Amelia in your handmade clothes, (which I Love), is a joy. You bring a smile to all your readers, much Love, Dianne xx

Catherine Smith says: January 19, 2015 at 01:15 AM

Your part of the world looks so beautiful. We're aiming to visit one of these days. Your photos and lovely writing about it make it really appealing. You're probably doing wonders for the Oregan tourism industry!!!! Your zest for life and journey to motherhood is so inspiring. I'm so happy to hear how contented you sound despite your terrible accident all those years ago. Thank you for sharing so much. Have a great week. X

Excuse me for my english, I am french et I know my english is very bad :-). I discover your blog and I find it splendid. your photographs are very beautiful.
I find your universe marvellous and poetic. thank you very much for this travel in Oregon. I would return to see you.

Your family looks like having such a wonderful time in forest, beautiful pictures.Thanks for sharing.
I love Amelia's cardigan too. very cute and suit her. I was tried to make same rose hair clips for my daugther which you put how to make it long time ago... but I can not make like yours like very flat and beautiful like you do, can you please give me any good tips when you have time! Thanks. xx

Thank you for sharing your lovely family with us. I always look forward to your stunning pictures and the stories that go with them. I usually don't comment but when I read this post I just had to. We have a beautiful spot near us that is perfect for walking in the fall. It's a state park that closes after Labor Day. It has a beautiful lake, several creeks and lovely woods. We don't walk there very often because I have a progressive autoimmune disease that affects my joints, so like you each step is very painful and even after I'm done walking the pain lasts. Sometimes on a glorious fall day my my family and I will go for a walk in those woods. The sun is warm and shining. The trees are magnificent colors and everyone is happy, including my dog. Those moments are so wonderful that for a short period of time the pain recedes into the background. Even thought there will be consequences later, it's so worth it. I guess I just wanted to let you know that I understood what you were talking about. I hold on to those memories so tightly, they are definitely what living is all about.

Beautiful photos! The lighting looks perfect for snapping those evergreens
Miss Tulip x
The Thrifty Magpies Nest

Mary K. in Rockport says: January 19, 2015 at 12:18 PM

Your woods look huge, deep, mysterious and magical, like the woods in the fairy tale retelling musical, Into the Woods, which we just saw in movie form. On a different topic, we live near Boston and have been shown in great detail the stories of people who suffered leg wounds in the Marathon bombing. One woman, whose foot and lower leg had been grievously damaged but saved, was very dissatisfied with how non-functional and painful her foot was, and decided recently to remove it and have a prosthetic. So far, she reports being happy with her drastic choice.

You are such a blessing to Amelia and Andy and I love that you can see that he carries you too as spouses should be for each other !! you are both lovely parents and I am sure an intensely loving couple and then you share all of this with all of us. thank you

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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