I Hike…

20180101_084255.jpgI Hike because I love Gods creative hand…have you really studied how he put together nature, the colors, the materials, the smells, the feel, the patterns of leaves, rocks, clouds…I love the wild beauty as it was intended to be without the “help” of man. I love the dirt and the filth of the whole thing…never do you feel so close to the earth. The back country always brings a sense of wonder for me. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed and humbled that it brings me to tears; nature takes my breath away. On more than a few occasions I question what heaven must be like if I am so moved by the beauty of earth.

I hike because It is almost impossible to worry when you are on the trail. The part of your brain that ruminates, frets, worries, obsesses gets derailed by the experience of nature, exercise, the one foot after the other distraction. I hiked 225 miles straight feeling quite sure I was going to solve all of life’s problems but I didn’t solve even one, because when I was on the trail, I had no problems.

I hike because it is an opportunity for all to enjoy. You don’t have to be young or wealthy to enjoy this sport.  Hiking is not like Skiing or Yachting or marathon running…You only need a good pair of shoes, and some water. Anyone can enjoy it not matter what your status in life is, and we all get to enjoy the same exact benefits which is a sense of freedom, peace, calm, overwhelming beauty. Everyone needs that in their lives.

I hike because you must depend on yourself. Although it sounds a little melodramatic, hiking can be dangerous in the back country. Part of the intrigue is really using your smarts to plan water, food, shelter, sunscreen, trails etc. Unfortunately, people die every year hiking and it can be especially dangerous as a desert hiker. Finding water on the trail is 100% non-existent so one must plan on how much and how they will pack in water.  You must always have a plan “B” for the unexpected. But that’s part of the fun and part of the realization that you are strong and capable.

I hike because my cell phone doesn’t work. This has been my biggest test. As a mother and wifey, we all know that feeling that we are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Our families will surely fall apart if they cant pick up the phone and call with an “urgent matter” followed by immediate answer or battle plan from “Mom, The Problem Solver”. But then I remember my own childhood and my own parents…there were no phones. I would be gone for hours at a time with no communication. Or when I went to camp, I wouldn’t talk to my parents for weeks at a time. And I survived. And I became stronger for it…my own problem solver.  When my parents traveled without me, I loved it because I couldn’t get a hold of them and I would rarely hear from them, and I loved how I could always figured things out.  I even managed to not stave to death.

I hike to take a break from work, my computer, and all my 21st century luxuries…its good to spend down time with nothing but yourself and nature. It refreshes your body and clears your mind. It gives me a buzz and I feel high as a kite for days after a good hike.

I hike to hang in my hammock. I bring a hammock when time permits and I either take an uninterrupted, guilt free nap, or lie and look up at the trees and blue sky or occasional cloud float by. Or I lie in my hammock and talk to my friends, who are also lying in their hammocks. Hammocks are a true luxury in the back country.  All’s you do is hang. And sway. And relax.

I hike to enjoy my like-minded friends and hiking community. I love my non-hiking friends of course, but the common thread of the outdoors means you will be with a  fun bunch of women who are on the Wild Side of 50 enjoying the second half…exploring, staying real, living in the moment, not trying to impress but rather conquering mountains and valleys, playing in streams and rivers, stopping to smell the roses and  being our own force of nature!

~Gwen

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