I’m super giddy today. You might ask… why? Still on my nature high from mountain frolicking Saturday with Lawn and Hiker Dad. Also, super looking forward to adventuring again this coming week.
Prior to hiking Mt. Pierce last Sunday, it had been just over three weeks since I visited the mountains. Much, much, too long. That said, it was mostly okay by me as I was enjoying the weather still deciding to be fall here on the Seacoast. But having hiked 1-2 times per week from May-September, the larger than usual gap felt strange. Not bad strange, just off, out of the ordinary. I’m explaining this so that I can tell you guys – it feels really great to go twice within a week – Pierce Sunday and Cabot Saturday.
I’ve been a little out of my groove. I think I’ve actually been super in my groove, but not used to this, so it therefore feels out of groove.
My life will be substantially changing within the next year. I’ve gone from feeling absolutely terrified and uncertain, trying to meticulously plan every bit of this out, to just letting go and growing in. By growing in, I mean growing into myself… my being… my aspirations and goals I have for my life and my being. Don’t get me wrong – I’m scared/unsure/uncertain. I mean, my childhood home will be sold in 7-10 months, I will be moving, I finish school in under 3 months, I’m undertaking a journey of starting my own business to wellness/health coach around eating disorder remission/women’s health/misophonia, and I’m trying to navigate all of this while staying on path with my own personal shit sandwich management. But despite all of this, I feel oddly good. It all feels right. I’m terrified but not concerned? I mean I’m slightly concerned I will be living in my Subaru come next Fall but like… things could be worse.
The two hikes in one week helped me feel back in groove. Mountain time is the best use of my time I’ve found for both personal wellbeing and also personal growth in the sense that it allows me a great deal of space and time to just be (well… just walk) with my thoughts. It teaches me what I’m drawn to most, what things catch my attention and draw it in like no other, and to be one with the process. While definitely out of my comfort zone as I ponder the next moves for my life, I’m beginning to realize there is a difference, a big difference, between being out of groove and being out of my comfort zone.
SO, of course I must actually tell you about this lovely hike.
Mt. Cabot via Bunnell Notch Trail – 9.4 miles (of snowy bliss)
I hiked Cabot back in late August via the Northern trailhead taking Unknown Pond Trail, and that particular hike was #45 for completing the NH 48 4000 footers. I find this amusing because Carrigain was #44 and I have also since repeated that mountain. It’s almost as if I’m trying to reverse my order for round 2. Not really, but I’m definitely ready for some peaks that it’s been a while since I’ve hiked!
This hike, most likely given my feeling out of groove aka out of my comfort zone, felt particularly challenging. Not only from the physical aspect – snowshoeing is HARD work people. My legs were substantially more tired after this hike than after the almost 20 mile Bond hike in early September… yeah. But also mental – between being up early, not loving being in snowshoes for the whole hike, my feet deciding to take close to 2 miles for me to actually feel them, gaiters getting wet through (Lawn has the same ones and hers did too… we need new ones!), being overly in my head about life lately – I found myself just wanting to call it quits and stop and take a nap. That didn’t happen.
I kept going. Walking. Step after step. At one point just before reaching the Cabot Cabin I employed my friend Amy’s tactic of internally counting steps. I literally counted to 200 steps and then took a quick breather and kept going. I didn’t tell Lawn or Hiker Dad what I was doing, but this really helped me to just work with the process. On 99% of hikes I can just go no problem, without question or hesitation or reassessment but this one in particular was different. I definitely attribute this to all of the recent and upcoming changes and an overactive head space.
Once we reached the Cabin my brain space and mental clarity underwent a shift for the positive. I felt a lot better for the remainder of the day. First off, I was nice and toasty which is always helpful. But mainly, I had the time to process what I was feeling, to work through it all. Those previous 200 step increments did more than just physically move me up the mountain, they allowed me to focus on ONLY the steps, nothing more, nothing less. I just walked. And counted. I walked and I counted.
There is something truly magical about thinking only about the present moment – nothing in the past, future, or even thoughts per se. Just thinking about what action(s) your currently undertaking. In these moments I was hiking. I knew I had two great hiking pals, that the trail was broken out, that I was safe, that I’m healthy, and that I had the necessary experience for the day – those were my facts. I knew these facts, trusted them, and kept on walking. I kept walking away from fear and doubt and into understanding more about what I was feeling and more importantly why I felt the way I did at the start of the hike.
This hike may have been one of the more challenging ones to date. Not out of miles, elevation gain, or weather even – but because it challenged me from many angles I’m not used to experiencing when hiking. For these reasons, it’s now one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I dig hikes that go super well, where I am in a total flow state (and are in the summer)… but the ones that push me past mental and physical comfort zones – those are the best of hikes.
Per usual with recent hikes, I’ve been asking my hiking partners to quickly recap the day – Lawns thoughts of our trek up Mt. Cabot:
“Good call on bringing the snowshoes.
Bad call on wearing gaiters that weren’t waterproofed.
FIRST SUMMIT WITH SARDOGG.”
“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.” ― Ziad K. Abdelnou