Wilderness Is Only 15 Minutes Away

If you have ever travelled to Washington DC and the Northern Virginia suburbs, you know how busy and hectic it can be.  The traffic around the beltway is some of the worst in the country.  In the Tyson's Corner area there are countless office buildings, two large malls, a futuristic new metro system, dozens of restaurants, many hotels - and no safe area to walk.  During the Christmas holidays with mall traffic, it can take 15 minutes just to get out of your parking spot.

But who would imagine that only 15 minutes away from all of this madness is a wilderness setting where the Potomac River goes through a narrow gorge before arriving in Washington DC?  The water rushes over large rocks and twists and turns between canyon walls.  These photographs are from Great Falls, Virginia.  The photo at the top of the blog post was taken about a month ago while my family and I were on a college visit and a weekend trip to the area.  My company's headquarters is located in Tysons Corner and the two photos at the bottom of the blog post are from several years ago on one of my earlier visits.

When I am at Great Falls hiking along the trails that follow the river and gorge, there is no clue that 15 minutes away is the traffic and madness of the beltway.  When I am at Great Falls, I slow down, I breathe deep and enjoy the natural setting.  I forget about many of Life's problems.  And while I know a simple hike does't solve Life's really big problems - you'd be amazed how many of our "problems" are NOT Life's really big problems.  When I am at Great Falls, it feels like I am a hundred miles away from civilization.  And sometimes it is good to be a hundred miles away from civilization - we all need a break from the madness sometime.

So when the stress gets high, or work and life is crazy, or you just need a break... take 15 minutes and find the wilderness that is close to you.