I love being in forests. Through the years that I lived in Croatia I went hiking, mushroom searching, chestnut picking or just picnicking with friends many times. Croatia is a small country but the diversity of the different types of forests there is amazing.
From the mountains covered with beech and fir trees, to the rocky slopes at the Adriatic Sea covered with pines and evergreen oaks, to the ancient eastern plains with their giant oaks.
One of my favorite places is Plitvice National Park. The beauty of that place is astonishing. Sixteen lakes are inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and it's set in a deep woodland covering a total area of more than 200 square miles.
Another beautiful forest that always comes back to my mind is Schwatzwald or The Black Forest. I remember visiting it for the first time when I was a teenager. The forest was so enchanting with pines and firs growing so dense that even in the daytime some areas are very dark. Mornings are beautiful with fog like a blanket spread out low over the ferns. There are also some interesting castles, palaces and ruins in the Black Forest with some rich mythological traditions. Through the years I visited it a few times, since my aunt lives in the city of Pforzheim at the gate to the forest.
The Black Forest was my inspiration for a few black free form peyote stitch necklaces I designed.
A few years ago I visited my friend in Portland Oregon. She took me to the Mt. Hood National Forest, and it reminded me of the Black Forest. It was mid October, and many people were hiking on the trails. One of the memories of our hiking was coming upon this tall, narrow waterfall, and right there at the bottom was a nature photographer standing on the rocks in an icy cold water with his bare feet, jeans all rolled up, taking his perfect shots. I shivered looking at him, bundled in my jacket, but he didn't flinch; deeply concentrated, passionate and immersed in the beauty that surrounded him.