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The big trend amongst the outdoorsy set the last few years has been to Opt Outside – boosted by the aforementioned tagline seen everywhere on social media and television.

It’s a backlash to the Black Friday shopping juggernaut that many Americans avoid. But #optoutside is also starting to feel a bit forced and just as commercialized thanks to its backing from mega-outdoor clothing corporations.

I have never been one to sit inside and waste a beautiful sunny day. But when the weather turns foul and the temperature drops, it’s also not hard to stay inside where a cozy couch and warm blanket await.

Yet staying inside, day after day, is too much. Even one full day inside is enough to make me feel like I have a case of cabin fever.

So here it was, the day after Thanksgiving and the official onslaught of the commercialism for the holiday season is upon me. The greediness lustily spurred on by the retail industry has diluted the joy of what used to be a wholesome and meaningful holiday.

I ventured out with family to a little spot I had yet to explore but had been on my “hit” list for a few years now; Foulweather Bluff Nature Preserve near Little Boston in North Kitsap.

Parking is along the road and can be missed if not for the constant presence of cars parked near the unmarked trailhead, but Friday saw only small groups of families out and about. The trail isn’t long, one-mile roundtrip, and is manageable for both children and seniors with limited mobility.

Even on a blustery day (I had my eye out for Winnie the Pooh and Piglet) the trail is enjoyable because there is so much to look at and test your knowledge of both flora and fauna. I am certainly not an expert in that area. The most you’ll get out of me is pointing to the moss, ferns and the various names of trees I’ve learned over the years.

The trail meanders it’s way along until it dumps you full face onto the bluff. On cold days like Friday, the blast of sea air will make your eyes water quickly and fill your lungs as you try and catch your breath. But that’s the fun in it, right?

The small beach is nice to walk along and I can see why it’s an attractive option during the hot days we do get here.

Opposite of the beach is a marsh that attracts mammals, birds, and insects. The old-growth forest is one of the few remaining in our neck of the woods.

We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife. An occasional bird was all that was about. Maybe they had better sense than to be galivanting about on such a cold and windy day.

On the walk back to the trailhead we finally spotted something! Mushrooms. A whole group of them had made their home on a fallen log. I don’t know what type they were but I couldn’t resist taking a “depth & perspective” photo. Honestly, the front one looks like an orange tomato to me.

I was expecting to encounter more people. I was happy we did not.

When I opt outside it’s my time to encounter God. Maybe others can deny His handiwork, but I can not. Being outdoors automatically means you are in the presence of the world He created in all its fierceness, glory and beauty.

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