Friday, July 29, 2011

A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name

The list of things I love unconditionally has grown exponentially since I was young, and it was a long list even then.

Jelly Belly's
San Diego

Being a "grown-up" my list has gotten much deeper and more meaningful. Things that last longer and things I've worked for.

My Bed
Garbage Disposals
Every single person in my family
Chocolate (yes, this is a grown-up one. I may develop acid reflux and I realize my days with chocolate may be numbered.)

But one thing that has stayed on both lists and has almost become a source of life, happiness and energy- is Hiking. Since I was young, I've remembered acknowledging how PRESENT I am when I hike. My mind seems so clear and thoughts are real, meaningful and significant. There's something about the fresh air and the complete rawness of nature that frees you.

In high school and college I typically hiked alone. Without hesitation I would start up trails such as Cecret Lake, White Pine, Devil's Castle and trails I don't even know the names of, or if they even were named. I preferred hiking alone. That way I was always able to notice that moment of clarity and peace, without distraction. Being present.
I only had one hike where I realized I shouldn't be alone-
or I should have least specified to someone (anyone) where I was. It was June, and the snow hadn't melted off yet. When I reached the higher elevations a storm set in that brought dense fog. I couldn't tell what direction I was going or see the trail well due to thes snow. The fog brought rain and I started falling waist deep into spots of the snow- completely oblivious of what was below me. I turned and ran any way that was "down" and reached the bottom safely.. but pretty shaken. Didn't stop me though. I went back to finish it, later.
Since marriage and childbirth- my free time has obviously been occupied to fill the needs of others. We'd get out there now and then, but it was nothing like it used to be; the limitless time factor, the freedom. And now we had a child that we had to watch with every foot of elevation we stacked on him, as the air got thinner and thinner. I hope we can make it a hobby and part of our lifestyle as a family.

But yesterday- I got to hike with someone that shared the same passion for it as I have, and someone I haven't hiked with in YEARS. My friend Stefanie came into town and we arranged to meet together with our friend Alli and do a great hike. MY favorite hike in Utah is Sunset Peak.
It is the perfect combination of difficulty, beauty, horizons and length to make for a great day-hike. We immediately felt the exhilaration when we stepped out of the car into Albion Basin. The temperature was cool and everything was SO GREEN due to all the rain so late this year.

Without too much effort, us 30-year olds marched up the trail to the peak and summited 10,468ft in the sky. The view up there is amazing, I call it the "four corners" because you can see Brighton, Heber, Timpanogos, and Snowbird all standing from one spot.

On the way down we ran into a few older hikers with their Trekkie's and they stopped to let us pass. They asked how old we were and we all said "THIRTY!" as if we were so old and proud to have made it to the top. They pointed to the man and told us he was 89, then told us that they came up the long way,from Mt. Supreme. Humility and admiration spilled over all three of us and we envied these cute people that were up here enjoying nature and comradery, which they have probably have been enjoying for decades. I can't wait to be like that.

The feeling I get when I hike is ALWAYS there, it is there every single time I go back. It's like returning to a place where I am welcome and loved, and the feeling is mutual. Thank you Stef and Alli for making it such a GREAT day, and I hope we can all take advantage of what is so easily accessible to us.
(more pictures of Sunset Peak, HERE.)

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