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  • Writer's pictureAriana Stanton

Adventure Journal: Oakland Redwoods!

It was a crisp sunny day, perfect for hiking and connecting with other women to enjoy the great outdoors, complete as always, with a gourmet meal.

The group met at 9. We had 19 of us this time—a big, fun group.

We had a lot of women who attended the event and five new ones from another women's leadership group.

"As usual the hike was challenging but awesome! The food is always a taste sensation - so glad to be a part of a group that builds cohesiveness+ community" - Jamie

The destination this time was the Oakland Redwoods

A hidden gem redwood forest that lies off Redwood Road, just a few miles over the ridge from downtown Oakland.

The forest we walked through with dim calming light leading us down our path.

This hike we went on was in the place with a long history of logging, trees torn down for day to day use, but thankfully the logging era has long since passed, and a forest of 150-foot coast redwoods has replaced those that were cut-down.

"Finally I got my ShinRinYaku forest bathing! I almost didn't come today due to shoulder pain but the vision of forest bathing with supportive friends and fresh food spread motivated me to get out!So glad I made it."- Soyeba

We started the hike from the west ridge for about a mile to continue taking a sharp left down the French trail. Its a rough, steep trail to enter the most beautiful part of the park. The sense of the Redwoods' magnificence is at its best there.

The w.o.m.e.n getting their needed 12 hugs per day in!
Our matching w.o.m.e.n gear making us look like pro hikers!

We walked, chatting away with old and new friends, climbing, and taking some beautiful trails to reach a destination where we were going to practice for the first time [ShinRin-yoku] forest breathing.

"Felt a little tired before the hike- then energized- loved the meditation, a needed break, grounding. Company was as usual awesome." - Judi

For 5 min we allowed our senses to expand, being fully in the present moment, relaxing and unwinding.

After our pause, some snacks, and a cheer with cava, we continued the hike back where we started.

During this time of the year, the park is also known for the ladybug migration. We did not plan the event around seeing them, but we were fortunate to admire the many clusters that day.The ladybugs migrate in November and will stay until late winter – around the end of February. Usually they travel in huge clusters and cover trees, logs, and leaves. The ladybugs are very consistent in their migration and are always reliable to be in the East Oakland woods over winter.

It is a mystery to why they always find their way back to the exact same location and why, but what is known is that they find each other to gather for warmth and hibernation.

We completed the hike after 6 miles. Felt connected, charged, and ready to enjoy a great meal. We gather at the top of a small hill. It got a bit cold, but that did not stop us from enjoying every bite of food and conversation we had then.

I served a new delicious beet soup, grilled salmon, and many grilled vegetables. We were happy; we ate and shared stories, laughs, and danced to wonderful music.

"A beautiful gathering infused with the feminine spirit" - Jamie Green

We continue moving; we connect in and out and celebrate the times we can pause and enjoy nature at its best in the company of women from any path.

We are one. We are w.o.m.e.n.

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