2010 marked a huge shift in my life. It was the time of my quarter-life crisis. I started molding a new my perception of myself, redefined what my life experience could be, and made certain promises to myself. The first big promise was that I would be kind to myself and embrace every moment as fully as I could (I mean, you never have this moment after it’s gone). The second promise was that I would always choose to live somewhere beautiful and put myself in a position to be constantly awed and inspired. These are promises that I vigilantly keep and daily affirm.
One of my favorite ways to affirm these promises is by intimately experiencing nature. Not just by sitting on my front porch or driving with my windows down or walking places I could also drive to (though I do all those things). I intimately experience nature by throwing myself right into the middle of it. Hiking, backpacking, climbing, swimming, sunning, being. New views or favorite haunts, I’m almost always ready to go be a part of it. And if I have someone to share the experience with, that makes it all the more enjoyable.
Recently, I marked a long-anticipated hike off of my list. My birthday weekend was set to be super low-key. I wasn’t planning on climbing because of my hip injury (recovering well but I wasn’t ready to push it that hard). Just back from the birthday trip to Florida with Paul (whom I had just started solidly dating again) and he had carried straight on to a conference in the deep south. Not much happening besides a good book and dinner with friends. Then Paul surprised me by rearranging his travel plans to be home for my birthday weekend. Super sweet of him. So, we did what every good outdoorsy couple would do – ditched unpacking and headed straight for the trail…
We hiked through the Mariposa Grove to Wawona Point. 6 miles RT (though we cheated on the last mile). It was a bit tiring after being out of the game for a few weeks, but the giant sequoias and the sweeping vista made it well worth the effort. And to have someone there to revel in it with and make it unforgettable was the icing on the cake. Actually, the icing on the cake was having the point all to ourselves for the longest while and then having a carful of our colleagues roll up. A fun interaction that culminated in a ride for the last mile down when they caught back up with us. Normally I wouldn’t have thought twice about gratefully declining such an offer, but my hip interfered and spoke otherwise (plus there was candy involved).
I haven’t been out nearly as much as I would like, obviously. But now that my hip is almost completely mended and wintery weather is looming, it’s time to get back to squeezing as much as I can into every waking hour. Promises intensely made must be intensely kept. And on a day like today and a place like here, how could I resist?