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Trusting Nature

Archetype and thru hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis shares why she puts her trust in nature.
Deep down I believe Nature has my best interest at heart.
Trust nature: Photo collage of Jennifer Pharr Davis and her family on the water. Her daughter wearing an Astral hat and looking at a starfish in the ocean. The whole family in a canoe paddling down the river.

When I spend time in Nature, I know I’m better off than when I don’t. Because deep down I believe Nature has my best interest at heart.

The people I admire most in the world are often the ones who’ve spent the most time in Nature. By understanding Nature, they understand themselves. 

When I was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for the first time in 2004, the biggest revelation I had was realizing that I wasn’t an observer of Nature; I was a part of it. None of us are above Nature. We don’t get to look down on it or look back at it, having evolved beyond it. No, we’re in the thick of it. And that’s a great place to be.

The biggest revelation I had…on the Appalachain Trail…was realizing that I wasn’t an observer of Nature; I was a part of it.

I have always said the trail gives you what you need. That’s why I trust it. I would bet my life on it. Trusting Nature means believing that what it has to offer is of great value. That our time is better spent in it than on our phones. That we’ll get more out of it than we will from ESPN or Bravo, CNN or Fox. There’s a place for those things, don’t get me wrong. But I really don’t think they feed us the way Nature does. I have never felt like Nature took something from me. It only gives.

Putting trust in nature: Davis' kid holding up a bunch of moss or Old Man's Beard and the other one running through a field toward her husband. Under blue skies.
I have never felt like Nature took something from me. It only gives.

All the best medicines science has discovered have come from Nature. I don’t think that stops with tangible medicines a doctor can prescribe. With pills and tinctures and treatments. The greatest treatment is feeling the wind. Answering the mountains when they cry out to you. “The mountains are calling and I must go.

Putting trust in nature: Jennifer Pharr Davis' daughter paddling a kayak on flat water with husband and son ahead of them. Daughter wearing Astral Otter 2.0 life jacket. Another photo overlayed with the kayaks pulled onto a sandy shore with the sign "Greenways & Trails" nearby.

We need adventure. We need to stay wild, to feel wild. And the best way to do that is to spend time in Nature, to trust the process and let it refine us in big ways and small. It doesn’t have to be an epic hike. Some of us are more capable than others, physically. Some of us don’t have as much free time. That’s ok. Nature is still there for you. As I write this, I’m looking out a big bay window in our house. What I see is a beautiful day. Fresh young leaves on a white oak tree, flitting in the wind. Olive green lichen on gray brown bark. A sky that starts out white close to the horizon and gets bluer and bluer the farther up you go. The birds singing, the wind grazing everything. It’s as nourishing as any food I could put in my mouth. And it just took a second.

It doesn’t have to be an epic hike. … That’s ok. Nature is still there for you.

So I challenge you to trust Nature. It’s there for you. It can heal you, maybe not your physical ailments. (Then again, maybe so?) But your spirit. We are made for Nature and Nature is made for us. Trust it. Live in it. Be in it. And it will be there for you.

Astral Jennifer Pharr Davis headshot in black and white
JENNIFER PHARR DAVIS

Jennifer Pharr Davis is an internationally celebrated adventurer, author, mother and business owner who set a fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail.

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