Lottie, our wonderful manager at MoaAlm Mountain Retreat shares her thoughts on the healing power of nature.
Yesterday I sat by a lake in the middle of a remote mountain wilderness. The silence was so complete that my ears burned in their search for a noise. Next to me sat my fiance and my dog, each in our own contemplative world drinking in the peace and quiet that is so hard to find in today’s busy world.
We were coming to the end of a stressful summer. Managing a business in Austria, coping with a death in the family, trying to process a worldwide pandemic had put a strain on our minds and bodies. I think we were both hoping that it would rain on our day off so we would have the excuse to stay in bed, giving in to the tiredness fogging our minds. But the day that dawned was the brightest and most beautiful we had seen for a while. So reluctantly we dragged on our hiking gear, grabbed ice axes and crampons and set out to conquer Prijakt, a beautiful double peaked mountain in the remote Schobergruppe, within the Hohe Tauren National Park in the Central Eastern Alps.
We did not talk much on the hike up from the car park. But as the beautiful valley unfolded before us, we were awoken by the sounds of rushing waterfalls, eagles soaring overhead, small squirrels scurrying to bury their winter food supplies. The landscape was a frosty orange in the morning light. The tiredness began to leave our bones as our muscles warmed to the task of climbing. We chatted easily as we reminisced about past adventures, brought to mind by the nature that surrounded us.
Wilderness, and for me, especially mountain wilderness holds a special power to draw you away from the world you inhabit on a day to day basis. As we climbed higher, breathed more heavily, bodies fighting snow and ice in the unstable rocky environment, there was no room for worry, for stress or for making plans. What mattered was where we were within the moment. Making sure our ankles did not get trapped down an invisible hole, or that we avoided slipping down the cliff face towards the lake. One step then another, focus, breathe and repeat.
Reaching the peak was a liberation from our aching muscles and dogged tiredness. The panorama of the Alps unfolded beneath our feet as we took our last steps to the summit monument. We sat and drank in the view of hundreds upon hundreds of lofty mountain peaks. The clouds were slowly rolling in from the South creating islands of white tips and as the sun shone heavily on our back we felt at peace with the landscape around us. My mind was instantly soothed.
On our way back down the snowy mountainside, we stopped beside a crystal clear alpine lake, framed on all sides by steep mountain sides. The water reflected the sky and there was not a breath of wind to ripple the lake. The silence was deep and awe inspiring. In this moment I felt so grateful for my life, the people around me and the opportunities I have been given. I was grateful I had fought the tiredness and got out of bed. Because out there in the wilderness was a special type of healing for tired minds and bodies.
As we stand on the brink of an environmental catastrophe, there has never been a more important time for humans to reconnect with the natural world. To recognise that we are part of something bigger and more powerful than our small lives, is vital to our survival as race, but also to our mental and physical selves.
If you would like to experience the power of nature, why not join us at our remote retreat in the Austrian Alps? We all need to immerse ourselves in natural beauty and escape the crowds. Check out the link for more information about our Winter and Summer holidays.