Five Fabulous Finds From My Backpacking Adventure to
the San Juan Mountains of Colorado!
1. Less is More! This became very apparent on mile 1 of our climb to Chicago Basin. My friend and I had definitely over packed and we were feeling the weight. The 8 mile trek to the basin had been described as a progressive incline but that didn't quite do the severity justice. There were no side trails or cross hiking. Everything was straight up and steep. "HOLY CRAP!" We needed to lighten our load. We needed to purge things that were not necessary. Unfortunately it was too late and we were stuck with our packs and our load. It's a good thing life doesn't necessarily mirror backpacking. In this life we always have the opportunity to "dump" things that no longer serve us or things we no longer need. We always have the choice to lighten our load and make things less heavy. Purging things that come in conflict with our joy, purpose and passion is necessary to live an authentic life. Don't wait until it is too late and you are sweating buckets, breathing like a dog in heat, muscles cramping and climbing up to Chicago Basin. Get rid of your "JUNK" today!
2. "Surely that's the top!" I found myself saying this constantly as we began to get closer to the summit of Windom Peak. Each vertical trail would have a point where you couldn't see any further. "Surely that's the top!" I would say. But time and again I would reach "the top" to find another vertical trail that lead to the "next top". I began to get slightly discouraged and a bit anxious. "Is there a top?" Each time I would psyche myself up to make it to the top because "Surely that was the top!" Each time realizing that the top was nowhere in sight and I would need to continue on. Often times in life we say "If I could just have this..... life would be perfect" or "If I could just get through this....I would be happy." Backpacking through the San Juans reminded me that it is about the journey not the destination. That life is constantly in a flux of smooth sailing and stormy waters. That being perfectly O.K. with where you are in this moment is where peace is found. That regardless of how far you are from your idyllic circumstances life is truly AWESOME and should be celebrated always.
3. Black flies and mosquitoes, OH MY! I could handle the challenge of this experience, the extreme temperatures, the snow and ice, the outrageous inclines, the mountain goats, the marmots, my heavy pack, even the freezeddried food. But the thing that I could not handle were the black flies and mosquitoes. They were horrendous. Did I say horrendous? Because I can't think of any better word to describe my displeasure. They were everywhere and even though my backpacking buddy had her own personal pharmacy and exterminator kit in her pack, nothing would deter those pesky pests. I was truly being eaten alive. They were everywhere and they were coming in direct conflict with me enjoying my surroundings and taking in all the bounty that was before me. I found myself saying, "I will only do this again if we can get rid of the black flies and mosquitoes!" Wouldn't it be great if we could customize our lives just as I was trying to do with my campsite? Wouldn't it be great if we could cut out the things we don't like or are unhappy with and then just replace them with a superior option? Wouldn't it be great if we could avoid all things that brought us displeasure, unhappiness, anxiety, loneliness or hardship? Or how about eliminating old age, disease, financial struggles, wayward children, mean bosses, nagging mother in laws? Unfortunately that's not the way it works. Just as I had to take the black flies and the mosquitoes with the outrageously glorious views and adventure, we have to take the bad with the good, the struggles with the triumphs, the suffering with the celebrating. It's who we are and what we are.
4. Shiny pennies can throw you off a cliff! We were making our descent down the mountain and again we were feeling the weight of our packs. Except this time it was in opposite directions. The pack was tempting to topple us forward in our downward motion. I remember the trail becoming narrow and having a step edged cliff on the left of me, dropping down into the rapids of freezing river water below. As I was progressing I noticed a shiny penny on the trail in front of me. It was tails side up. Well, everyone knows that it's bad luck to have a penny tail side up so of course you have to correct that immediately. I wanted badly to bend down, turn the penny head side up so that the next backpacker would find it and "all day long have good luck!" Right???? The bending over wasn't too problematic but once I flipped the penny getting up was another story. A picture of the Movie Wild shot into my head when Cheryl was in her hotel room getting ready to head out onto the PCT and she couldn't even budge her pack an inch off the ground. Her pack was winning. As I began to use every fiber and muscle in my body to get up I started tipping to the left. The exact direction of the rushing, suck you under and die river. Luckily I barred down, focused, withdrew from distraction, breathed, stood straight up and continued on my way. Phewwww! Close call! How many times do we let distraction get the better of us? How many times do we veer off our chosen path and become side tracked? How many times do we let things come in conflict with our hopes, dreams and aspirations just because they might be shiny and promise good luck? Get busy, get focused, bare down, breathe and keep your eye on the prize. My prize that day was getting to the bridge at Needleton, flipping off my boots and dunking my worn out feet into the river. Sometimes it's as simple as that.
5. There's a Superhero inside all of us! My friend and I are regular girls but that day when we made it up the 8 miles to Chicago Basin, we were nothing short of Superheros. We actually continued to wear our capes because surviving the entire experience made us Superheros. From the physical and mental toughness, to the camping worst scenario survival, to the ability to go "dirty" for 3 days.....all awards us with Superhero status. Yet this was just a few days. I know many people in my life that are Superheros 24/7. People that are dealing with extreme challenges, difficult circumstances, tough life lessons. People that refuse to give up. They are my real Superheros. Yet we all have it in us. You have no idea how powerful you are. How amazing you are. How strong and resilient you are. Believe in yourself and all that you can do and accomplish and make happen. Believe that you can make a difference in your own life, the lives around you and this big vast beautiful world. You are truly AMAZING!
As always BE STRONG and stay tuned for my next adventure. If you are in need of any health and fitness advise and assistance please don't hesitate to contact me. I would love to help you reach your goals. Remember "To live will be an awfully big adventure." Peter Pan
Kim is a passionate fitness junkie that is certified in Personal Training, Pilates & Yoga. She thrives on introducing you to your healthy, fit, joyful and amazing self through fitness, life and nutritional counseling.