A year ago I would have never in my life been able to enjoy something on my own. I would have had to call people and do things with them and cater to what the group wanted. Today I extend my invitation to where I plan to go and if no one is free, I still trudge forward.
Independence and Self-Worth are my biggest gifts theses days. It’s liberating to wake up every single morning fearless of what the world cares about my small existence. All I know these days is that I get up, and do exactly what I want to do every single day.
Yesterday I woke up early and went to a meeting then figured that Sauk Mountain has been on my list and have heard about it being short and relatively easy. I was drawn to it on the forums because the path is literally on the side of the mountain the entire time and when hiking alone, I like to be in open space. I’m so happy I did it. I have a little 2006 Honda Civic which has really gone through the ringer with all my trails this summer. The road to the trailhead felt like it took forever for how slow that I had to drive. There were a few areas with potholes and at the very end of the road, it felt like the rocks got sharper.
I finally arrived and realized I forgot my bug spray. I opened the door and instantly got dive-bombed by a bee! I jumped back in the car and closed my door.
“Why did I forget my damn bug spray!? Why did I accidentally put perfume on this morning???”
I tried again….
Once again crickets, butterflies, grasshoppers and flies all jumping and flying at me(this is not an exaggeration). I ran to my trunk to get my runners on and more bees chased me.
Back in the car. Close door. Feel like an idiot and grateful it’s just me and one other car in the lot.
“What’s wrong with me? Why do I hike alone without bug spray? Why did I drive an hour and a half for this? I fucking drove an hour and a half for this I need to quit being a baby and get the hell outside”
I roll my socks on and lace up my shoes. I attach my GoPro to my trekking pole, pray to sweet baby Jesus and get outside. I can do this. I walk over to the sign/map area.
A lovely sign read this:
[Bear Hunting Season. Please wear bright colors, Bears are attracted to scented objects and food. Please use a bear bag]
Instantly being alone and fearful, I walk back to the car, take out my sandwich and carrots and put it in my trunk and get on the trail….”just in case” hahahaha. I don’t need food, I can’t just drink water.
This is what happened to me. Momemnt by moment. I hike a lot and this is not the first time I’ve ever been alone. I had an hour and a half to drive alone to this and when I first made the turn on to Sauk Mountain Road there was a big sign about a woman named Patti who has been missing since 2010 and last seen on this trail. I know this is just one person but my mind raced and got the best of me to what could have happened to this Patti woman. By the time I got to the top of the trail with all my thoughts racing because I’m crazy, I instantly didn’t see it as a hike, but as a death sentence. You’re welcome for my unfiltered drama.
The second I was on the trail, everything diminished. I am meant to be here. I am a small part of the beauty of life and I am safe. The higher I trekked up the mountain, all my fears had left me. It was beautiful. There were chipmunks everywhere and a gorgeous view below me in all directions. It was pretty leveled and it didn’t take me very long to get to the top. I ran half the way and was just in awe of the beauty of this state. When I finally reached Sauk Lake overlook, I was taken back. How can this be so beautiful? How am I so lucky to experience so many places and I haven’t even left the state?
Too often we think things are greener on the other side. We sit on Pinterest and wish we could be in Ireland or Tahiti or wherever your ideal place is and we forget that within a couple hours, we can be greatly surprised by what’s right in front of us. I encourage you to open your eyes and open your heart to the people right beside you. The ones IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW. I encourage you to see only the good in them and to love them just as they are. I encourage you to get outside and be in nature. I encourage you to stop judging those around you along with seeing the flaws in your life and where you live. Being in nature is cheap happiness so stop with all your excuses right now. Look around you and see how perfect everything is. Look within yourself to see only beauty and stop overanalyzing everything and everyone. I almost turned around and drove home yesterday because there were too many BUGS! seriously??? I’m glad I snapped out of that because when you get over the little things in life, it allows room to truly experience the BIG things in life…like being on top of a mountain and overlooking God’s beauty. I encourage you to be free.