While I was recovering from my divorce, I read this book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a true story about a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, an 1,100 mile trek completely alone. It was a soul-searching journey, the heroine literally pushed herself to the brink of survival and she was surprised to find what she was capable of. When I finished the book, I craved this journey. I wanted to see what I was capable of. I wanted to push myself to the brink to ignite that appreciation for life and self that this woman found on her trip. I wanted to feel the exhaustion and muscle soreness and blisters and raw pain that she described. I wanted the solitude and time spent in my own head in complete silence, free of distractions and petty worries and facebook and calorie counting. I wanted to get back to my true self. I had a list of people I wanted to forgive: my ex-husband and his girlfriend, my parents (for perceived injustices I sustained as a teenager), my friends who were no longer my friends, but most of all, myself. It’s at the top of my things to to do before I die list. (Both the hike and the forgiveness)
I’m a momma so taking off for three months to hike isn’t feasible. But since reading, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for the therapeutic benefits of communing with nature. It offers me the humble reminder that I am not the most important thing on this planet and that humans haven’t produced anything that can compare to magnanimous structures found in nature. The Pacific Crest Trail is sectioned off into smaller hikes that are more realistic for someone like me and I’ve got my eye on the John Muir Trail which runs from the Sequoias to the Redwoods.
In the meantime, I’m getting to spend some time on some other trails. I recently hiked The Narrows at Zion National Park, with my kiddos and my extended family. Five and a half hours of rocky water trail through a canyon surrounded by walls of slate and sandstone. It was magnificent, there’s just no other way to describe it. Also, I’m a total Geology nerd so I was lost in striation heaven.
We also spent some time in Bryce Canyon. We hiked the Navajo Loop which connects to the Queens Garden trail. The hike was a little over three miles, but there was a steep descent and a steep climb out of the canyon. My little ones stuck it out for this too. I had to literally push my son up the last few hills, but he did it! I think I was more proud of his accomplishment than he was.
I’m also very interested in doing some trail runs and overnight backpacking hikes. Ragnar has an overnight trail relay series and I want in. The only question is…who’s going with me?
Do you trail run? Have you read this book? Did you know they’re making it into a movie? Do you want to hike the John Muir trail with me? How do you get back to your true self? Let us discuss!