The Edge is teaming up with EarthMentor David Nelson to offer a monthly hiking experience at one of the hidden nature gems here in the Twin Cities! Each month, we will highlight a new, unique nature option and a date to join us for a guided hike led by David. Donations are accepted to support his work, but not expected.


We will start with grounding — connecting energetically to the Earth (a practice that will change your life!) — and then you will be invited to shed your shoes (I often bring flipflops for any parts of the path my feet aren’t enjoying) if the hike is appropriate for that (this is optional and not required). When the bare feet connect with the soil, there is a natural energy exchange that is necessary for the human body…and it’s fun!

We will slowly walk, stopping from time to time to tune into nature:

  • Feeling our bodies, becoming present
  • Listening to the birds and the whispers of the trees
  • Stop and looking at the shapes and contrasts from Earth to sky
  • Feel the Earth with our feet, touch the trees and stones with our hands
  • Smell the flowers and the soil.

As we do this, the whole hike becomes sacred. We return to our natural state of being as one of many earthlings. We begin to appreciate that we are connected to all things, and it’s all magic! This usually leads to an energized peace and a deep sense of gratitude and well-being.

Increasingly, studies are showing what we knew as children…that being in nature is fun and healing! Without effort you will be releasing what no longer serves you back to the Earth to be recycled and opening to what is in your highest good. We understand this exchange with breath, yet I have found it occurs on all levels as we spend time consciously in nature.

This month’s hike
Our first hike of the season will take place appropriately enough on Earth Day, April 22, at 2 p.m. at one of my favorite parks: Pike Island, part of Fort Snelling State park. Exit on to Post Road, just south of the entrance to the airport on 5, and you will want to go east down the hill. At the bottom of the hill is the ranger station and you will need to buy a day pass for $5 or an annual for $25 if you don’t already have one. I recommend the annual as we will visit some other state parks in the area this season — and you are supporting and protecting these lands and the park system with your investment.

Follow the road all the way to the end parking lot and I will meet you there. You will want to bring a reusable bottle of water and maybe a snack. Wear some layers as we will walk rain or shine (just not in lightning). We will then walk through the woods to Pike’s Island, which was sacred land for the indigenous people, and now hopefully for you, too!

The hike is flat and easy for about four miles. It will take us about two hours, though once I get people here they tend not to want to leave. The island is surrounded by the Minnesota River on one side and the Mississippi River on the other, so we will tune in to the energy of water and flow and offer our blessings to the heart artery of North America.

I request that you turn your phone off; some pictures are okay (and I will take some for this series of articles) yet, let us not get lost looking at nature through a filter. No bikes are allowed here, which is nice, and you may see some dogs swimming in the water. And I promise you a magic tree experience!

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David Nelson
David Nelson is trained in Spring Forest Qigong, Reiki, EarthWork and has extensive training in Buddhist meditation among other experiences. The foundation of his practice is connecting with the Earth on a daily basis, and he has spent the last 15 years developing his own unique way of teaching others how to do this. He works with clients on a one-on-one basis, and in workshops and retreats, including to Costa Rica in January. Visit www.EarthMentor-DavidNelson.com.

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