Throwback: One Year of Hiking

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Photo credit: Chaitanya, 2014 (Almost exactly one year ago!)

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Me, August 9, 2015 

Hollyburn Mtn at Cypress Mountain resort; 450 m elevation gain, 7 km.

There’s so much more to a hike than what the pictures show. I barely slept for the last month – year – and I came into nature like a dog let out of its cage, rabidly taking it all in.

Hollyburn was a victory hike after a month of work. It was also, according to my journal, the second hike I ever did, exactly 1 year and 10 days ago. Wow.

The people I met along the way. The ideas people had. The way their ideas and kindness and affable attitude and outlook on life changed me.

From the first girl I met my age who was also getting into hiking and coincidentally hiked with me for at least three hikes, despite most people on the hikes being seniors or at least middle aged. I wish that we could be friends. To the endless males I hiked with, but was far too androgynous at the time to care. To the stories, confiding, regrets I was privy to and part of; mishaps, missteps, mistakes, but no matter what happened it was okay, hiking was a learning ground, not a test.

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The girl, L and I had accidentally matching backpacks. It’s good bad we don’t go the same school, or that we didn’t keep in touch; there are few people I feel like I truly connect with and I felt like she was one of them.

chaitanya 2chaitanya5Photo credit: Chaitanya  highres_405203092

Photo credit: Chaitanya

My first backpacking trip. 400 m, 11 km. The people I met were so amazing and not impatient at all with my general ineptitude. I couldn’t’ get on this rock by myself by the way; I had someone help me out without my asking.

Outdoors. Passion. People. All of this I sensed since I was a child, and it was better than I ever could have asked for. Hiking after a month off was like finally activating those synapses that had been waiting to fire since they last saw a hill; I positively ran down root to root, full of childish joy. A easy hike, I wished that I lived closer to the mountains so I could do it everyday, instead of ruin my body attempting the impossible on the weekends.

Having hiked helped me get out of this pickle that I found myself in this year. Previously, having lived a life of no exercise, once I was stressed I was physically debilitated by so many symptoms. This time, even though I became more aware each and everyday how much I would have to change my life to be fit and not just enthusiastic, the physical discomforts were oddly lessened. If not for that, I would never have been able to do my work on top of stress-onset illogical pain, weakness, and more. Last year was terrible. The pain was so bad. This year was nowhere near as bad. Can I make this the year that I eliminate stress-related pain and anxiety? What if I could? What would my life be like?

It would be like Jan-Feb 2014 was. Pain free. Man that felt good. Ironically, my mind (anxiety) creates the pain, but by that same token, I could be completely pain free, if I can just control my mind. Chronic conditions really get you down and you don’t even realize how low you feel until the condition is suddenly lifted. What made Jan-Feb 2014 different from most of my life was that I had hope, plus no stress of immediate deadlines and lots of snowboarding and relaxing. Hope does wonders. In terms of mental health, finding things to keep you occupied, healthy and happy are essential for everybody.

Now that my mindset is different, it’s all too easy to be lazy and just reap the past rewards without progressing. I can’t let that happen. Standing still might as well be slipping back. No slipping back. Forward moving only, unless you’re stopping to enjoy the view. 

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