A Hike

When X left, walking had been one of the most therapeutic things I did for myself each day. When I felt stuck or trapped or helpless, Moose and I would walk. I was getting stronger and feeling better and, after he died, I pledged I would continue to hike on my own, to explore.

I struggled to make it happen in Alaska, and even now that I’m in NH, I’m having a hard time getting going, mostly because it’s so stinking hot! But last week, I decided to go explore some woods I passed regularly that were labeled with a trailhead.

It was late in the afternoon, hot and muggy. I packed a water bladder in my pack to stay hydrated, then set out. I walked into the woods, up over a small hill, and the sounds of the road disapeared, the world got darker and cooler in the shade of the pines, and to my immediate left was a large white-tailed deer, closer than I’ve ever seen. The hike was off to a good start!

It wasn’t much of a vertical increase, there weren’t anymore wildlife sightings, but I felt good. I felt strong. And the fresh air, as hot as it was, was what my mind needed. I’d had a strange couple of days. Emotionally, I felt kind of, well, nothing. I wasn’t having any feelings. I would try to identify how I was feeling and came up with nothing. It was strange, because the past six months have been chalk-full of emotions. I didn’t know what to think of this change, other than it didn’t feel quite right. Something was going on.

I also had a lot to think about. I had recently discovered a small betrayal of trust from a friend that really bothered me as it was so unexpected. I needed to think and talk aloud to myself. What better place than the woods?

I have no resolution on the lack of emotions, though I think it might have been armoring up. I have no resolution on the breaking of a trust, though for now it’s filed away for future reference. But the hike made me feel strong. It also reminded me of how at home I feel in the woods of New Hampshire.

Old stone walls cut through the woods at various spots along the trail.
A fallen tree, perfect for climbing.
The view from on top of the tree – looking north to the white mountains. Hard to see in the haze, but beautiful just the same.

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