It was a colder day and the rains had just passed the night before. I'm new to hiking as I've always lived a bit too far from such adventure and for the first time in my life have quick access to trails and beautiful outdoor scenery.
Driving on Highway 35, which is one of my favorites- I stumbled upon the peak of Windy Hill, so as to spoil the longer hike I decided to get out at that spot and take the short climb to the top to take in the view. I really liked the fact that each hill had a bench where you could gather thoughts and glance at the beauty around you. It was so refreshing to breath in the clean air and take time out to just be in the moment. There were a lot of hikers in this particular area who all seemed to be enjoying the day together, I loved the energy.
After snapping a few photos (Selfies included)
I strolled back to my car and continued south where I found another wonderful hiking area called "Russian Ridge." The intimidating part of these trails is that they begin downward, so you feel absolutely great as you pass people with a happy "Good afternoon!" as they huff and puff to the top with a breathless "Hello."
What I really liked most about this particular trail was the solitude. Not too many hikers and the stretch of about 4.25 miles seemed perfect for my experience. I also really liked the rolling hills and the surprise of what might be around each bend. The trees were massive and hung over me in an almost protective shield. As soon as I was in the open space the wind was quite cold and my nose and cheeks were both pretty numb. I did not mind however, and trekked on even after slipping and falling in a muddy patch which I found myself laughing at my clumsy ways. I think the cows were also amused as their heads spun around to see me sprawled out on the ground. =)
I was starting to get tired at this point in my hike. But once that feeling came upon me I thought about how tired a lot of people are in this moment. People who are fighting for their lives, people who can't walk, people who would give anything to be where I was, the freedom the clarity the safeness. I decided to hike up one more hill and push myself a bit more; of course knowing I still had a few miles of up hill to face on the way back. As I walked up the hill I could feel my legs start to get tight, so I stretched a bit- someone forgot to stretch before she hiked today! Oopsy. Still a novice as you can see, but I'm learning as I go and it's been great.
When I decided to go back the truth kinda set in that I was in for a work out. Oh boy, that's all up hill and I'm going to do it- kinda have to get back to my car and I doubt I would sleep well here tonight. =) I tried to concentrate on a few steps ahead of me instead of the longer journey. I could start to feel my heart in my chest at this point, but I figured that was normal. I pushed on and pushed on, now it began to pound. Oh boy, this girl is not in the best of shape. I stopped for a moment to drink some water and let my heart relax from the pounding. I was a bit peeved that all of the time I spent at the gym had not put me in the best shape of my life. I was not fit, or as fit as I would like to be in regards to my cardio health which is very important.
For the rest of the journey up I paid close attention to my heart rate and made sure not to be too aggressive. When I reached the top I was the happiest of happy! Elated, proud and well, sweaty!
I reached my good ole' corolla and placed my hands on the spoiler almost as if it was my savior- "I love you car, you're such a pip!" I had made it, and as I stretched myself out before boarding and returning back to reality I made a promise to myself that unlike surfing where I almost drowned and never grabbed my surf board again, this was different and I was going to return to this same trail and hike it until my little heart could balance the efforts my body needed to climb. This was one of many trails that I plan to conquer as a new outdoor enthusiast.
What goals do you have in life? I'm certain they exists! Have you planned out how you are to achieve them? What big transition are you making? I invite you to pause and do something different with your time. Maybe something that doesn't even require much money- I have found hiking to be just that.
The journey of this hike reminds me how I can get through anything. That with patience and efforts I can survive it and come out on the other end extremely satisfied and ready to take on the next. I'm constantly inspired by my friends who have backpacked in the wild for weeks at a time. That might be the larger goal ahead, baby steps in the mean time.
Take care friends and remember to always smile. I'm so grateful for you in my life and that I can share some of my moments with you.