Hello and I’m back. I explored some of our great country, via “road trip” to some of the US’s most beautiful National Parks. A few weeks ago I posted my adventure hiking one of the most dangerous hikes in the world–Angel’s Landing, in Zion National Park, Utah-. It’s towering red rock mountains looking down on you would make Godzilla look like a mini-action figure, but the beauty takes your breath away, as you constantly crane your neck to venerate them. I dubbed Zion as having “beauty without boundaries.” Put it on your bucket list to go and visit. You don’t have to do the most dangerous hike in the world to enjoy its magnificence and transform your life.
I also hiked Fairyland trail, in Bryce Canyon. Its sparkling, colorful painted dunes–luminous red, green, orange, and white were breathtaking. And the towering, rippled “hoodoos”pictured below, were immense, but not as much as Zion. Maybe more like a mini, mini Godzilla action figure.
The Grand Canyon
Next I hit the Grand Canyon and understood intimately what it was to hike a canyon. You go down into the canyon, switchback after switchback, and what goes down, must come up. Down, down, step by painful step over big rocks embedded in the dirt, tired and hot. Repeat, up, up etc., I was surrounded again, by beauty without boundaries, but I asked myself many times: “why am I doing this?” Because I’m a glutton for punishment? I thought I could avoid squats for the rest of my life? I’m crazy? A little of all of the above, but to be fair, I hiked a very hard trail, Bright Angel Canyon, 4.5 miles down and those same 4.5 miles up, after five days of intense hiking. Maybe my body was a bit tired.
I had a goal…
I had a goal in taking this hiking trip. I pictured walking along beautiful trails, experiencing boundless strength, sitting in quaint cafes, reading and writing, and having a thunderbolt strike me causing a mystical transformation. So we make plans and God laughs? Isn’t that the way it goes? What did I get? I was really proud of myself for scaling Angel’s Landing, hanging on the chains bolted into the craggy mountain side, for dear life, with my fellow adventure seeking hikers. But it was grueling and after the hike my muscles felt like someone had pounded nails in them. My body did get over it in a few days, with a visit to the hot tub and lots of Essentrics. It took an incredible amount of determination and strength to do that hike, so I can say, it was transformational.
My scary or near death experience
In Zion, I hiked the Narrows, which takes you through the Virgin River and requires walking in the water. I don’t know how Jesus did it–it was no calm Sea of Galilee . I rented boots, replete with water socks, fast drying pants and a set of walking sticks. It was a chilly day as I trudged the muscle pulsing current, through the cold, rocky river, wind slapping against my face. The water was ankle deep at times and other times it was up to the top of your legs. I trudged 1.5 miles to “Wall Street” and walked in a gentle steam surrounded by massive black and white canyon walls. But the way back was a different story.
Sometimes I followed people to feel safe. I followed one girl into this blissful blue water, but I couldn’t see the bottom. As she walked the water rose up to her waist. I didn’t want to go that deep. It was about six feet to the other side. I took a step and the icy water rose up to my chest. I jabbed my poles into the rocky bottom and headed back where I came from. Two girls standing on shore asked if I was okay. I couldn’t speak — the freezing water took my breath away. As I struggled back to shore, a girl handed me her pole and I pulled myself to safety. Thank goodness for that. In that icy water, I thought: “is this my last day here?” and then a millions reasons why it couldn’t be–not part of the plan to transform my life.
I’m not the only idiot in the world
And then, after that near death experience, I’m walking in shallow murky water and wham! I tripped over a rock. I’d thought I was on easy street. And there was a warning not to submerge your body or swallow the water because it had Toxic Cyanobacteria Bloom in it. Too late — one body submerged, but no water got in my mouth. Some joker yelled I was the second person to trip in the last 15 minutes. Solidarity. Caution: if you hike the Narrows, only walk in clear water, that’s not too deep. I met a couple two days later who’d had a similar experience with the deep waters of The Narrows, so at least I didn’t feel like the only idiot in the world.
Transform your life
The challenges I had were in fact, transformational. Even though the hikes were killer at times, using my physical strength gave me inner strength. On the last day of my trip, I was at my brother’s house and he was talking about his frustration finding accurate information on climate control. He wasn’t convinced with the information he was finding, so he decided to take responsibility for himself and he pulled out his college Physics book and studied it. The part about taking responsibility struck a chord inside me and I decided to stop procrastinating and write that book that’s been on my mind for years.
I’d been waiting to read all the recommended writing books, to take “all the best writing classes” and for the stars to align and one day I’d wake up and say “today’s the day.” I’ll always be honing my reading and writing skills, (all successful people do) but it’s time to get started and so I did. I’ve committed to a writing schedule. I’ve outlined chapters and I set a goal for my first draft to be finished.
Change, change, change
I reflect on how I’d like to change, and change, like writing a book, takes many small but consistent steps. Some steps will be like hiking the Grand Canyon; high, embedded with rocks and painful to walk on, but that’s the way it is and I’m up for the task. Maybe all those difficult challenges on my trip made me stronger–I think I’m going to go with that, squats or no squats.
Get inspired! Until next week–email me of leave me a comment!