Happy Tuesday! It might be Wednesday when you’re reading this, or a Monday in 2023 (because, you know, Google and such).
Today’s frolic up Pierce was another one for the books. It was only my hundredth hike up Pierce, just kidding, I think it was trip 14 though. Pierce is totally done for the “grid” at this point. Sadly, no its not, February 2020 trip up Pierce here I come!
I haven’t hiked a 4000 footer in about a month and a half. Honestly, it’s been great, and yet today was also very welcomed. I’ve been enjoying exploring local trail systems since moving, hiking some smaller but wonderful mountains, and focusing on spending time in nature and honoring my needs vs. spending time focusing on hiking bigger mountains.
Hibernation if you will.
I’ve low-key been wanting to “get back” to the bigger mountains for a couple weeks but knew it wasn’t the right time. I needed a little more time, rest, space, and patience with myself and where I’m at. One of my friends (hi A, I know you’re reading this) recently told me I’m one of the most introspective people she knows and how this is admired. This is hands down of the best compliments I’ve ever received. As someone with a deep inner world, I often find myself easily feeling like I don’t give enough attention to the external world, because it may seem like I don’t, when in reality I’m such a feeler, empath, highly sensitive human to all forms of stimulation. My brain and body take in EVERYTHING from the external world, even when it may seem from an observers eye that I don’t. The inner world is so important though because without it, without my awareness and attention to it, I would never have accomplished so many of the things that I have in life and would 100% not be on the path I’m currently on or living where I’m living. Hands down, the inner world gets priority as it makes me both a better human and a better version of myself.
This introspection, this knowing of myself and my process, it’s why I’ve been taking time to be slow and give more patience, grace, and love to where I’m finding myself currently. It’s also why I’m getting back into the “swing of things” so to speak.
Historically Winter had been my least favorite season. Ok, April is my least favorite season 😉 . It’s gray, cold, there is less daylight, people tend towards more stress, the Holiday’s are hectic, I have to wear pants (my least fave)… I could go on.
Lately I’ve been feeling a sense of calm on an internal level I’ve not ever felt. Today I felt this at an even stronger wavelength. While summer will remain my favorite time of the year to hike, Winter might be my favorite season. This calmness, it’s partly correlated with now living up North in the mountains, but there is something about being outside in the snow and listening only to hear nothing. There is nothing, but there is also everything. It’s a stillness that takes time to appreciate.
The frolic up Pierce today for example, it was actually snowing the entire hike as New Hampshire had a snowstorm pass today. Each time my friend Jared and I stopped to add/take off a layer, drink water, etc., I made note of the winter wonderland around me. Trees coated in fresh snow, the forest so quiet, the sound of snowflakes hitting my jacket and backpack, sounds of animals and birds in the distance, trickling water as some of the ice was melting, the wind blowing snow off trees.
I felt safe. I felt a deep connection to both the woods and my entire being. I felt at home.
This whole hiking thing has changed my life, as cliche as it sounds, it has.
When I sat down to write this post I “planned” a typical hike recap, you know, telling you all about the hike itself versus my perception of the world which I experienced during the hike. But, as I’ve said before and will say again, the reason I write is for the process. I found myself quickly compelled to delve into a more emotional/spiritual direction, and that’s entirely okay.
This is something I’m working on currently, being okay with what might not be my usual M.O, because I’m growing and expanding at a rate internally that my own brain can’t always comprehend.
It’s part of my process.
If you were to ask me what some of my favorite things about hiking are, let’s go top 3 because otherwise I’ll go on a mega tangent, I’d say:
- I feel so at home in the mountains
- The connections and friendships with people I would not have otherwise met
- Connecting with nature and being so grateful to have this opportunity
On number 2, Jared and I had a conversation today that struck me as something to share. We were discussing how when we started hiking, we had no clue it would lead us to hiking 4000 footers in snowstorms in what is not technically Winter but very much Winter. We talked about how hiking is something that is so deeply connecting us to the mountains, nature, and other hikers. It has opened our eyes to other things too, like the environment and sustainability. I digress as I’d like to make a point:
If you told me 4 years ago I’d be doing this, I would have laughed.
If you told me 4 years ago I’d be living up North to pursue my own solopreneur life and be in the mountains I would have looked at you like you had great ideas but holy heck how would I even make this reality.
If you would have told me 7 years ago both of the above, I would have though to myself I’d probably be dead by then from my battle with anorexia.
The mountains change people. They changed me, and they saved me. Quite frankly, I’m going to allow them to continue to do both.
It’s a process.
“The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask.” ― Nancy Newhall