Well it has been a little while since my last update. I have had access to the internet a couple of times since the last update, but honestly have not had the focus and energy to do an update. But here I am to try to share a little bit of what we have been experiencing. We are currently enjoying a rest in West Yellowstone, giving our bodies and souls a good rest before we make our way into Wyoming.
Since leaving Anaconda we have expereicned so much! It never ceases to amaze me how much the scenery and terrain can change even within one day. We have been through some rugged mountains, and rolling meadow covered hills. We never stray too far from the Continental Divide, and often find ourselves right on top of it. By hiking 25-30 miles a day we are able to see the landscape with an intimacy that most simply do not experience traveling by car or plane, but we are still moving at a rapid enough pace to be able to see the landscape change drastically in as little as a day or two.
Tearing Apart & Re-building
When hiking a long distance trail, one quickly learns that it is an experience that will tear you apart and re-build you in so many ways. Physically, Mentally & Emotionally. There is little more powerful than having the opportunity to go through a full re-build of all that you are.
Some days when you feel your body being torn apart, you don't want to take another step. The fatigue and soreness can feel like more than you want to handle. It is both extremely challenging and rewarding to be able to push through those moments. To push your boundaries in a way that you never knew was possible. For some long distance hikers this part of the experience might only last a week or two, and then for some people like me there might be little things that come along off and on through out the hike. With each of our hikes I have learned how to move through this experience sooner, and with less re-occurance.
Emotions are one of the most powerful messengers to remind you what you have been thinking and expecting from your journey along the trail. I even have days that I am hiking up a hill and I am over come with emotion as my body physically expresses my exhuastion and frustration. Any heavy or negative thoughts I may have been carrying with me well up and come pouring out through tears. A sure sign that I have been carrying the burden of expectations on my soul and body. A valuable reminder to turn my focus back to the possitive experiences and beauty of the trail.
The mental realm is such a large part of any experience as grand as a long distance trail. That which we focus our attention on is what we get out of the world around us. I can all too easily slip into a place of focusing on all the challenges and hardships that I might be experiencing on a daily basis, and of course this only compounds the experience. When I am able to turn my focus and expectations around, I find that everything becomes a more effortless and fullfilling experience. Life is constantly offering us a reflection of our state of being. We might be able to ignore some of the messages it sends through to us in daily life, but on a long distance hike, those messages and lessons are so clear and large, there is no way that we can sidestep them.
I suppose we are finding ourselves for our entire lifetime, it is all part of the human experience. I am taking the opportunity this summer to really reflect on myself and my life, and to figure out what the next chapter of my life is going to hold. There are so many reasons that this is the culminating hike for me to really take the next step. Since this is the 10 year anniversary of my first long distance hike, and on the same trail it really gives me the opportunity to reflect on how far I have come personally, and how much farther I have yet to go. It gives me ample time to ponder all that I have been blessed to experience in the last 10 years, and what I would like to experience in the next ten.
It allows me to see just how much I have expanded myself, and also the places I still feel limitations. There are endless opportunities to expand my comfort level, and my abilities. For this I am grateful and challenged all at the same time.
To See & Be Seen
One of the great things about long distance hiking is to see your surroundings in a whole new way. I love being immersed in nature, and having the opportunity to witness all the living beings that she nurtures. We have been surrounded by wild flowers almost every day of our journey. The sheer number and variety of them has been stunning and inspiring. At times whole hillsides will be painted yellow, red or blue from the flowers that cover it.
The wildlife has been breathtaking at times. We have seen a few herds of 50+ elk. To watch that many majestic creatures move together like a wave over the landscape is truly amazing! Everything from grouse that let us walk within 5 feet of them, to pronghorn antelope who spook with the first sight or smell of us has graced our journey.
It is great to realize just how much the land and animals are watching us as we travel along our path from the Canadian to Mexican border. They all communicate with each other, sending the message that we are coming. Once in a while if the conditions are right, we might crest a hill to catch a small group of elk or antelope unaware, but they are quick to respond once the realize we are there.
The Journey Continues
We are just about 1/3 of the way along the CDT. It is surreal to ponder that we have already hiked 1/3 of the trail, but it also seems like we have been out here for months. It is simply one step at a time that will take us from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.
Follow along as I share highlights of the adventures that bring me such joy in life, and the wisdom they have imbued into my being.
Would you like to become part of my next adventure by being a sponsor? Learn more here