the perfect timing
The Arizona Trail (AZT) has been an elusive one for us. It has been on our list of "to hike" for years now, and we have even attempted starting it a couple times to only be blocked for one reason or another. In 2011 Bernie even started the journey, and he made it 300 miles before he had to drop off the trail because our land lady had split from her husband and wanted to move back into the cabin we were renting. Sometimes the Universe lets you know in no uncertain terms that the time is simply not right yet.
So this year we once again had the AZT hanging in the background as a possibility. With extremely minimal planning we decided one week in advance that we would hike it. This time everything slipped into place effortlessly. We flew from Bellingham to Las Vegas, took a shuttle to St George Utah where we spent the night, and then it took us five hitches from there to get to the start of the Arizona Trail. On September 17th we started our trek along the length of Arizona, a journey that took us 40 days and 40 nights. Like a biblical journey, I was tested in endless ways, my only demons being my own limitations and issues.
Long distance hiking is such a powerful teacher in the art of intention setting and faith. Everything is reflected so purely when you are immersed in the natural rhythms of nature day after day, and you can so readily see that you are truly the master of your own experience. Thoughts and intentions are thrown back to you almost immediately, and so one quickly learns to be aware and present in what you focus upon. What do you expect from each moment? Pain, joy, suffering, ease, struggle, beauty, awareness? The possibilities are endless, it is completely up to you as to what you experience.
a stunning landscape
When people think of Arizona often the image most readily available is one of a flat, barren and hostile desert. In many ways I lack the words to convey both the stunning and subtle beauty that so fills this state that it pours over it's borders. As my legs will attest, the landscape is anything but flat. And day after day we were presented with endless abundance of life.
Because there was a series of storms before and while we were on the trail, many plants put forth an encore bloom seemingly just for us. I marveled at the expansive hillsides completely covered in yellow blooms. Everything knew how to fully relish and embody this late season flush.
releasing fears and finding peace
No matter what long distance trail we are on, people are always projecting their fears upon us. Often we are warned of many perceived dangers (mostly animals) who they believe are more than eager to end or complicate our lives. Arizona is blessed with many plants and animals who know how to defend themselves from careless or malicious passer by's. I fear no animals, insects or reptiles along our adventures because I always do my best to respect them in every way possible. In those times I am not paying attention as I should they are kind to gently let me know they are there and they would rather be left unharmed.
On this trip we had several rattlesnakes who only rattled a couple times to let us know of their presence, and then peacefully watched us as we walked around them with a respectful buffer. We do not carry a tent with us when we hike, we have a silicon impregnated nylon tarp we use if we know it will rain, otherwise we sleep with only the stars as our shelter. No matter our method of sleeping we are never separated from Nature. Simply by setting the intention, most forms of wildlife respect our personal bubble as we sleep. Ants prove to be a consistent group of beings who insist on being in your space if you decide to be anywhere near theirs. I am always excited to witness wildlife, and I will always be fascinated by it. Yes I give some animals a little wider respect bubble, but I will never cease to appreciate the sacred gift another living being gives me with its presence, including the plants.
nature as my sacred center
The more time I spend immersed in Nature, the deeper her roots twine to the very core of my being. There is no longer a single moment that I don't see her steady grace in everything that surrounds us. I become witness to the subtle movements that drive life forward with each second. It is through this infinite process that I have found the very essence of who I am.
I hope that I can inspire others, even if it were only one person, to find this sacred center within themselves through the balance and lessons that Nature patiently provides unconditionally.
Have you ever felt those sacred reverberations of the Universal heartbeat? That moment in which you feel the intense Love and brilliance of all of creation as if it existed solely within your heart? Everyone has their version of where this feeling and energy originates from, but I can tell you it is attainable by every one of us.
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