Seek intimidation. Hunt fear. Overwhelm yourself. Search for the opportunities that scare you and try to make each day an insatiable quest to question, not only your ability, but your confidence and your faith in who you are and what you can do.Why? Because you must learn on this journey that deep down you already have all of the answers. And the only way to do that is to live the questions.That’s my best guess at least. I don’t know for sure, but I’m okay with that. I’m okay with not knowing. I’m alright with chasing mysteries.
Two weeks ago, I embarked on the biggest journey of my life- so far. I completed a solo, 28 mile round-trip hike in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness. While there were some physical challenges, the greatest difficulties were mental/emotional. Aside from wanting to see one of the most gorgeous places in Colorado, the main reason I took this trip, alone, into the mountains was to be alone with myself. The entire trip I was reminded of this:
“…I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”
The first night, I started my hike in the rain. The more people I passed going the OPPOSITE direction of me, the more nervous and afraid I became.
A couple hours into the hike, I finally passed a few backcountry campsites with tents set up. It was comforting knowing there were other people out in the wilderness despite the weather.
I made camp by myself for the first time that night. I was rather proud of my set-up.
My first trail dinner was bengal lentils with leaves of the mountain bluebell stirred in. Both the flowers and the leaves are edible and I was glad to have some extra nutrition to add to my dinner.
This camp didn’t suck at all. Not one bit. Well, minus all the wild animals making noises outside of it in the middle of the night. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I laid there wanting to wake up in the AM and GET THE HELL OUT of that forest. All night, I said i was quitting, but ultimately, I awoke in the morning and decided to continue the trip.
Relax, my dear.
The journey IS the destination.
My early morning view the next day!
Looking down on the trail up to my first mountain pass.
Made it to the top! One down, 3 to go.
Looking up (l) and down (r) the path up to the second pass. I had to use my hands and feet to keep from tumbling down the mountain. The photos, in no way, accurately convey how stinking steep this thing was.
Top of the 3rd pass!
I stopped at the lake for a nice hot lunch and also took a little swim in the lake. First time swimming/bathing at 11,000+ feet! The water was a lot warmer than I thought it would be.
Last pass- last day! On top of the world!!!
Aspens MUST be the most photogenic trees ever.
I couldn’t have been happier to see the front of the Maroon Bells again…
Here’s the thing about backpacking: It’s all up to you. If you want to complain all day about the trip, the food, the difficult climbs, the scary wildlife, digging your own hole to shit in, the sore muscles, and the lack of the regular comforts of home, feel free. By all means, go right ahead and do it. That’s entirely your choice. But, it’s also your choice to embrace the hard stuff, to cuddle up with craziness, and to slow dance with all of the severely messed up things that make their way into your trip.