Some would call me an avid hiker. I’ve summited the major peaks in southern California: San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Baldy. Last April I was one of if not the first 40 something-year-old woman to hike the Trans-Catalina Trail.
The thing is, I don’t feel like I’m a die-hard hiker as some call me. Sometimes I wonder why I’m even doing it. Why aren’t I sitting at home reading?
Last year around this time I agreed to backpack the John Muir Trail – 211 miles from Yosemite to Whitney summit. My first reaction when asked was one of fascination. I imagined it would be an amazing experience – awe inspiring. As the months passed and the training became more intense I remained dedicated, even as my enthusiasm waned. As the hikes became longer and higher, my apprehension of the impending trip deepened.
In all the months leading up to the trip, the question remained. Why was I doing this?
So fast-forward to Monday, July 27th. With my 35 pound backpack I embarked on the most difficult, painful and wonderful experience of my life. During the three weeks there were times when I thought my back would break from the weight and my feet would just stop working they hurt so much. So many times I wanted to bail or just sit down and stay right where I was. Were it not for an amazing support network, I would have done just that.
Again, fast-forward to Tuesday, August 17th. After walking 16 hours straight with very little food and sleep, we emerged at Whitney Portal. Of course I was proud that I completed the trail. We actually hiked 233 miles because we threw in Half-Dome and Clouds Rest. When people ask me, “Are you glad you did it?” or “Was it just the best experience ever?” I reply vaguely that it was the best of times and the worst of times.
Which brings me back to where I started. Why did I do that? I guess the answer lies in the fact that it was the right opportunity at the right time. Why not?
So you don’t have to be a superstar or extremely dedicated or hard core to accomplish amazing things. Believe me, I am none of those. I guess I just opened myself to the adventure and worked really hard.
I learned a lot through this experience. As I approach my 51st year, I am reminded that maybe the best things in life come from hard work and an open heart.