Chief Adventures: Hiking the Hike

Heavy breathing. Aching limbs. Sweat kissing my red face. I accomplished Devil’s Lake today (with Chief). It was hard, but strangely, not as hard for me as it has been in the past. Let me tell you though, I’m wore out. And Chief? Yeah he’s crashed out on the floor snoozing away. But I feel so much better mentally and physically; I feel like I really  accomplished something.

“Lately, despite the malicious mosquitoes, I have been really encouraged to go on long walks at Mirror Lake…”

Lately, despite the malicious mosquitoes (yey bug spray!!), I have been really encouraged to go on long walks at Mirror Lake, a state park that’s fairly close to my home, with Chief. Today with the light breeze trickling through the rays of sunshine, I figured that Devil’s Lake would be fantastic. It took me over an hour to follow the hiking path, but, let me tell you, I was rather proud of myself.

Much like I was doing two years, I really want to embark on a weight loss journey (yes, again). Someone cue the “oooo.” But, I really want to focus on the exercising portion as much as the eating portion. I’ve been on this natural high when I go walking around the trails, which honestly makes me feel invincible! I feel like I could run 5 miles (just kidding…I’d die…). The feeling is almost indescribable, except for that natural high.

Posing at Mirror Lake

As far as the food part, I’m starting out small    nothing to drastic (at first).  My thoughts on food intake is just watching calories and carbs. I don’t think these minor things are going to make a HUGE impact physically…maybe. But in my best opinion, it’s going to prep me for those drastic changes that I know I will partake later on. Fret not, my friends Luke* and Nick* are my biggest encouragers, and I know that they won’t let me get too crazy and out of hand with a diet (Luke is taking his own healthy journey; Nick has taken on the Keto diet and lost several inches and weight). Of course, Chief will benefit greatly from all the walks, and he’s always there faithfully pushing me forward (I’m blessed with a good dog).

Here’s a good inspirational-ish quote from a 2009 documentary I recently watched called “Facing the Fat.” It’s fairly intriguing     I recommend watching it!

“When you feel disgusted…it’s time to do something.”     Kenny Saylors

I feel disgusting with my current lifestyle. I feel mentally and physically drained ALL the time. But I’ll keep pushing forward, red face, heavy breathing, tired legs, and all.

“Today with the light breeze trickling through the rays of sunshine, I figured that Devil’s Lake would be fantastic.”

One Step

A few days ago I went hiking with one of my good friends Luke* at a local state park. It was quite breathtaking. Literally. With my face all red, my legs aching with every “one more step,” my heart pounding so fast it felt like it was about to jump out of my chest, we both made it to the top. And it was probably one of the most spectacular views.

It wasn’t my first time hiking at this state park, but it was the first time I made it all the way to the top and around. I’ve gone with a few of my other friends before and at one point I even took my dog (he enjoyed it quite a bit). The start itself was pretty decent. By this point I knew the beginning part quite well. Those nook and crannies. Those particularly slippery rocks. The part where the steps were significantly high. But as I took it one step closer towards the top, I repeatedly joked with Luke, “Just leave me here to die. You carry on without me.” And he always replied, “No. I won’t leave you here to die.” A little less than halfway, our first real breather stop, he took my backpack and carried it the rest of the way. He is in far better shape than I am, and he knew the path ahead much better than I did. That breather spot had a fantastic view, and I could only imagine the view up ahead.

“That breather spot had a fantastic view…”

As we continued on, and I yearned to just stop and turn around to head back down because I was tired, I kept yearning to make it to the top to see that spectacular view. At one point, I lost my footing and fell on my knee. It has a tiny scratch there. Throughout the trek I kept telling myself, “One more step,” until at last, half hour later, we made it to the top. The view…well let’s just say it was ‘on point’ as teenagers say nowadays.

“…marveling at the tiny parking lot below me, and the lake that looked just as grand as it does at the bottom…”

As I stand there marveling at the tiny parking lot below me, and the lake that looked just as grand as it does at the bottom, thunder rumbled across the sky and water began to sprinkle down. At this point it was a horizontal walk for a bit. There were flowers and trees everywhere on top. I knew there were trees everywhere, but for whatever reason I had it in my head that it was going to be really rocky and hardly any vegetation up there. It’s amazing how I picture something in my head and I’m proven wrong but in a beautiful way.

The hike down wasn’t as literally breathtaking as the climb up, just figuratively. The rocks, which had been carved and moved by glaciers in years past, were so beautiful with their shades of red and brown and even a touch of black here and there. The formations were extraordinary. At one point, I saw these really smoothly indentations  that looked like the outline of a giant’s butt. I would have taken more pictures, had it not been sprinkling and my battery wasn’t low. Every step down, I’d whisper inside my head, “just one more step…you can do this.” My friend was a trooper in going at a slower pace than he probably would have liked, but he kept making sure I wasn’t going to fall and giving me pointers about where to step based on rock-slipperiness (is that a word?).

“There were flowers and trees everywhere on top…”

After we finally made it down, we continued on. He showed me these indentations in the ground, and when we walked down them, the lower temperature difference immediately wrapped around my ankles. “This would be a grand place to sit and read in the summer time.” He just nodded his head. And at one point, because the rain made the ground rather soft and muddy, I ended up falling down. I shrugged it off like it was nothing, but I was so embarrassed. I don’t even know why.

It’s amazing how this hike resembles so much in my life. In the past few weeks I’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster. An unexplainable emotional roller coaster. My manager at work, though he never asked outright what was wrong but always hinted that he understood, described me as melancholy. The word rolled off his tongue like a ball down a hill. I was baffled that I was noticeably ‘not myself,’ because usually I hide any feeling other than happy deep inside me. In the past few weeks I tripped over a stumbling block. More than once I cried in front of my manager, apologizing, him handing me a tissue and talking me through it, making his typical sarcastic jokes to make me laugh.

In the end, despite how hard it was, and how sore I am now, it was wonderfully worth it, and I couldn’t help but be relieved to overcome something so trivial. In the end, it was just “one more step…one more step” until at last I made it to the top and eventually down again. Just like how the Jordin Sparks song goes, “Just take one step at a time, there’s no need to rush, it’s like learning to fly, or falling in love…it’s gonna happen, when it’s supposed to happen, and we find the reasons why, one step at a time.”

If you press on, on step at a time of course, you’ll eventually be able to climb over your mountain. But don’t give up because you’re tired, weary, and red-faced.