The Middle- Jimmy Eat World

“Hey / Don’t write yourself off yet / It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on”

So I’m mixing things up a bit. Headed into the 100 mile wilderness northbound. Then back to southbound the the rest, since my flight is out of Portland anyway. I’ve been a bit anxious, tired and emotional (pacemaker gave me her bacon this morning and i teared up, agh) Everyone’s pretty excited about finishing and the triple crown. My head/heart just isn’t there, yet. The end is near, almost.

Like the hills out here my emotions have been up and then down. I feel unsteady and unsure like the rocks under my feet. Even though there is predicted rainy weather ahead I’m good with being on trail and i hate hiking in the rain. Hoping these next will will be instrumental in sorting myself out.

Yesterday was stressful trying to find my box. After a frustrating call or two it was found, right where it was supposed to be. Thanks Kassy, now I have everything a girl could need for 100 miles in the woods!!

Great stay at Shaws hostel, amazing breakfast and they are very helpful. So onto the wilderness…..see ya on the flip side.

Roar – Katy Perry

Laying here in the hostel bed, everyone’s sleep but me. Can’t sleep, in the morning I will wish I had. Tomorrow we tackle Moosilauke and enter the White Mountains. I have no idea what challenges are ahead but I know they are out there.

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I try to sound confident and casual as I talk with other hikers. But my own concerns and fears I keep to myself. It’s been nice at the hostel meeting other hikers but it also makes me anxious. Hiking alone up till now I make my own pace, distance and choices. Now that I’ve met people I feel a pull to keep up, I feel slow.

Deep down I know the trail is about to school me. This next section will be physically, mentally and emotionally taxing, truth.

Become the Mountain Lion by refusing to hide in the cave of your own shyness or uncertainty. Roar with conviction roar with power and remember to roar with laughter for balance.

Thats what my cards read before I left. Really I pull the Mountain lion card! Couldn’t I have pulled the sloth or maybe a turtle. Fine (clears throat) I’m ready roar.

What I think I’m like roaring…

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Reality….

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Thank you for being a friend -Andrew Gold

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People often ask how am I able to take time off and hike the trail for month(s). Well I say, I work hard and a lot. However, there’s another bigger part of the equation. People. By people I mean family, friends, coworkers, and strangers. My family doesn’t completely understand what I do and my mom wishes I didn’t do it at all!! But like every other crazy adventure that I take off on they support me even when they are not sure how.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again, I have the BEST friends. They have shown up every freakin time, financially and emotionally. Whatever I needed and things I didn’t know I needed. When I needed extra work friends hired me, when I needed a place to live pre/during/post trail they took me into their homes, they gifted me gear and threw going away parties and camp outs. They sent packages, watched/repaired my car and took phone calls from the trail keeping me up on goings on at home.

Because I work for months at a time I work with a staffing agency (Ultimate Staffing). Vicki has been on it for the last three years, finding me great long/short term positions with great companies. My current assignment is with a auto dealership and it’s been a great job with fun people. Super happy that they want me back, they celebrated my departure with tasty food (carbs and meatballs!!) and gifts!

 

Thanks Apothekayla for the healing salve!

Then there are the strangers, aka friends I haven’t met yet. People who follow my blog/Instagram, leave supportive comments, messages, jokes, tips and donations. This is so over whelming at times it brings me to (good)tears.

Gracias     Merci Beaucoup      Grazie     Danke sehr   Mahalo

I’m out there hiking the miles, adventuring, ‘living the dream’ but it wouldn’t happen without my awesome support crew! I never walk alone! So much love and kindness. Thank you all for ALL THE THINGS and being on this journey with me.

I love y’all………..yep you!

It’s Not Over – Daughtry

In 2016 I quit an attempted thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. I learned some lessons on that hike, like all trails are not the same and to thru hike you have to really want it. Quitting doesn’t necessarily mean failure though, it just means you’re done, for now. Checkout my fun chat with Lynn Marie of Quit Happens, we talk quitting the trail when the drive isn’t there…..and going back when it is!

 Quit Happens with Lynn Marie 

African American hiker Appalachian Trail
AT Conservancy

Stay tuned…..in 2 weeks I’m back on the Appalachian Trail…..Katahdin I’m coming for ya!!

 

Five More Minutes – Scotty McCreery

 

“Time rolls by the clock don’t stop, wish I had a few more drops
of the good stuff…”

Hiking Estes Park Colorado
Hiking Estes Park Colorado

You might have heard me say I started hiking 4 years ago (long distance anyway). Well I’m getting old and forgetful! This popped up on my Facebook memories (FB you don’t totally suck)! Look at me hiking Estes Park, when I was living in Colorado 10 years ago. Rockin actual hiking boots AND a camo backpack.  You’ve come a long way chardonnay!

That’s me a real OG (outdoorsy girl)! I’ve been “adventuring” for so long it’s become my normal. Normal or not, the memories coming in waves are special and remind me the clock doesn’t stop for anyone. Take in every moment in life or you’ll blink and it’ll all be over.

Nature Therapy: Why The Great Outdoors Is Great For Recovery

Feature Image: Courtesy Pixabay
This guest post was written by Michelle Petersen

In the 19th century, aristocrats and well-to-do members of the upper-middle class flocked to spa towns and health resorts across the western world. From Bath, England, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Great and the Good pursued wellness by going out into the countryside in search of fresh air, sunlight, flowing water and green space to combat the tyranny of disease. Research is proving them half right.

Spending time in nature boosts immune response, improves the symptoms of depression and lowers blood pressure and stress levels. For the millions of people struggling with addiction, access to a good therapy program that incorporates outdoor activities could make the difference between a successful recovery and relapse.

Green Exercise

Physical activity in the natural environment has been demonstrated to bring about improvements in both short and long-term health outcomes. Studies show that a simple walk in the woods helped patients with ADHD to improve their concentration after only 20 minutes. Just living in an area with abundant parks and woodland can have lasting positive effects on mental health. Japanese research indicates that people who exercise regularly in fresh air and natural green spaces actually extend their lifespan.

A Healing Environment

Researchers are investigating the ways in which our stress responses are mitigated by being in the outdoors. A Japanese team from Chiba University theorized that our bodies evolved to interpret information about plants and streams, not traffic and high-rise buildings, and that we are adapted to relax and heal in pleasant, natural surroundings.

Finland has gone so far as to implement a program of five hours a month of nature experience to help combat their population’s high rates of alcoholism, suicide and depression. South Korea has three official “healing forests” utilized as treatment therapies for maladies as varied as cancer, depression and addiction. They plan to advance the program by adding 34 more in the next two years.

Healthy Changes In Lifestyle

In the U.S., there is a growing demand for experiential therapies to assist patients with their recovery from substance abuse and addiction. Along with traditional approaches, such as counseling and behavioral and nutrition therapies, many hospitals and rehab centers are taking their patients out into nature, with great success. Patients are engaging in myriad physical activities such as rock climbing, kayaking and hiking. These programs focus on strengthening the body and mind with healthful exercise in enriching surroundings. Participants learn teamwork and cooperation while building trust and self-confidence.

Hiking in the woods offers the recovering addict a peaceful environment in which to distract themselves from their problems, while providing them a series of obtainable goals. The next hill, the next tree and the next rock — these are all achievable. As they learn new, natural skills, they improve their mindset and find a new sense of self-worth. In nature, they are able to focus on the task at hand and draw strength from their surroundings. They can clear their minds and renew their commitment to their improved state of health.

Time spent engaged in pleasurable activity outdoors amid the shade of trees and the music of flowing water, encourages our sense of wonder and promotes a feeling of joy. It helps us to connect with nature and improve our health and well-being.

For an addict in recovery, it can also ease the symptoms of withdrawal and foster healthy lifestyle changes and the acquisition of natural skills. As Calvin Coolidge once said, “There is new life in the soil for every man. There is healing in the trees for tired minds, and for our overburdened spirits… Remember that Nature is your great restorer.”

About the Author: Michelle Peterson believes the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride. Her mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.

 

The Samples – Could It Be Another Change

So I survived birthday month! Got a few more bumps and bruises but I made it. Managed to camp/hike every weekend except on my actual birthday. To say the least I did all the things. Camping in the Eastern Sierras (it was so beautiful with the fall colors and lakes) to camping at the La Jolla Indian reservation then camping in the Anza-Borrego Desert. The best part was doing it all with friends old and new.

Magical moments in nature is what keeps drawing me back out there. The winding creek under a star filled sky, climbing the same hill over and over, a light rain falling on my tent, avoiding poison oak as I scramble down a mountain while people in onesies laugh and dance the night away.  Disco camping! Ah, yes Youtopia, San Diego’s regional, it was the best year yet, magic on the mountain. While I was hiking the CDT I wrote this poem regarding the burner/thru hiking community, nature can really ignite your creativity.

Finding My Flame

I am only ordinary 
Not special in any way
Not even noticed
As I go on day to day

I went in search
Of something
But the dust made it hard to see
What was truly me

But the voices around me
Said what do you want to be
Confident humble strong
With that
I could not go wrong

From the desert city
To the woods I did flee
There I’d find what eluded me

The path was full of obstacles
Night dark as could be
Yet there was light from
The desert community

A flaming fire
Inspired encouraged
and restored my soul

From sunrise at a fence
To sunset on a mountain
I began to see
What I seek is
Inside of me

 

Now with the month of November kicking off I am reminded of all the things I planned to do but have not. So it is certainly time for me to reignite the flame. Time to start closing out this year and prep for the next.

Blue October – Into The Ocean

It has been a little over a month since I finished my thru hike. You would think after 3 long hikes I would be better at reintegration, but I’m not. Returning to
“regular’ life has not gotten easier. The me I am on trail is different from the me in regular life. The same but different, two sides of the same coin. I long to
be back on the trail because I love the person I am when I’m there. Stronger, more confident, inspired, independent, the stripped down basic beautiful me. If you
are wondering, yes I will be back on the trail. There are miles on the AT that stand between me and the Triple Crown and I want that, for me. If nothing else I’ve
learned not to let anything stand between me and my goals.

Being back in regular life means dealing with all the things. Adulting. There are so many things to do.

Had a lovely welcome back party with friends. (thanks everyone
who came and put up with my absence in the middle of it all!) Still so many people I would like to reconnect with. So much changed while I was away, births, deaths,
engagements, marriages, and situation rearranging. As I moved up the trail life moved on, I knew that it would. I’m catching up, processing and oh my gawd the politics.

My car needed to be repaired (darn little beasties chewed my wires). Posted one message and so many people offered help, thank you. (special thanks Nick for going
out of his way to repair my janky car and deal with my crazy that day, love you) I needed to find a place to live and work. I am deeply grateful to my friends for
taking me into their homes when I return. I’m finally getting some work but the commute makes me question my sanity.

TRAFFIC
Yeah…..back to work!!!

There are also the internet things to do. You might have noticed I have posted in a while. Some posts I only wrote half of and never finished, like my gear review.
Those awesome ladies over at HLAW (Hike Like a Woman) gave some great advice about blogging. That’s when I realized I really need to redo my blog too! Honestly it all
got a bit overwhelming for a bit. So when some friends invited to hike the Eastern Sierras with them I was like, “Yes, yes, and yes!!”

PSA: Prolonged contact with nature can promote positive mental health.

Four days in the Eastern Sierras, just what the doctor ordered. Short hikes to beautiful lakes, fall colors, laughter and marshmallows around a campfire.

Can’t think of a better way to kick of birthday month! Friends with birthdays (thanks Leslie including me in your celebration at the Hollywood Bowl, great time! All this time in California and I’m only just now seeing the Hollywood sign!)

Oh and MY BIRTHDAY! This being my 46th trip around the Sun, a time of reflection is in order. 20, heck 10 years ago I never would have imagined this is where I would
be in life. Even with all the craziness I love what my life has become. It’s not for everybody, but its mine.

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Winter Wonderland

This past weekend I got to go play in the mountains…..snow covered mountains! Joining some friends from Minnesota we met up in Denver and headed out to Steamboat Springs! If you like to ski (or snowboard) and you haven’t been to Steamboat…..what are you waiting for. It’s been almost 10 years since my last trip there. Honestly I have only skied a handful of times since I moved to California. So to say the least I was a bit rusty. Luckily after a few warm up runs on Thursday Night Ski I was just fine!

winter

Did I mention the snow!? It snowed everyday we were there except one. This made for some great morning skiing and some visibility issues when it got windy. I went with three guys that ski well and often. So we hit it early and hard, there was minimal lollygagging in the lodge. Everything was super full anyway with Winter Wondergrass going on (and it was sold out). What’s Winter Wondergrass…..hmm…bluegrass bands and craft beer festival. I didn’t hear a single band but I did get a few drinks with the locals!

steamboat

We skied as a group in the mornings, that was fun. I chased the boys down black diamonds on fresh legs then broke off in the afternoon to ski longer runs. I really like the longer runs rather than repeatedly flying down the mountain to sit on a chair lift. Steamboat has great long runs, by the time you get to the base your feeling it!

The CDT comes pretty close to Steamboat, I’ll probably resupply there. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of that snow will still be there when I hike through!