The soil was alive, the trees emanated old age, and the shade was prolific with pockets of light bursting through. All expected qualities of an old growth forest. The unexpected was the sound of airplanes overhead and cars from a nearby major road. This was my experience at Big Trees Forest Preserve located smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest sections of Atlanta. More amazing is that, of the six million inhabitants surrounding the forest, I saw one person on a walk with their dog and another eating lunch at the entrance. Adjacent to the forest are office building and strip malls that are full of people. The contrast of the hot parking lot at the entrance and the cool breeze in the forest was tactile. Entry into the forest felt as if you were transitioning in time and space to a different reality. The forest was a perfect combination of neglect and love. Neglected by the general populous but observably cared for by those that love it with fantastic trails, maps, and informative designed viewpoints. These hidden gems are not as rare as you might think. I can count ten similar forests that I know of in the Atlanta Region. Have you discovered the secret forest in your area yet?