It should come as no surprise that I enjoy being outside. Like, a lot.
I prefer to spend my time taking walks in the park, hiking through the wilderness or just sitting on the porch listening to thunder rumble in the distance.
There is just something about being outside. It’s calming and restorative. Teddy Roosevelt believed strongly in the healing power of nature. In fact, it’s scientifically proven to be good for your health.
So whenever I feel my life getting away from me, I know it’s time to get back outside.
Unsettled at Home
Poor Mike had to watch me mope around the house during a particularly challenging week at work. I wasn’t eating right. I wasn’t exercising. I was tired and cranky (at least, more than usual). I just wasn’t feeling like me.
Nothing seemed to help — every day was just another day of reluctantly dragging myself out of bed to endure another day. I was questioning everything about my life. Clearly something just wasn’t right.
Everyone has bad weeks, even if everything is fine. The days get away from you. Your head isn’t on right. You’re swimming in your thoughts and muddled to the point confusion.
Then I realized what I was missing. I hadn’t been hiking in weeks. WEEKS!
Between the move, travel, visiting friends and work, I just hadn’t found the time to get outside. And as the weather improved, our weekends were spent going out for long bike rides through the city and running errands all day. It just wasn’t the same for me. Too many people, not enough quiet.
I realized that I needed to unplug. I was too wrapped up in screens and details. I needed perspective and freedom.
I needed to get back out into the world to really appreciate my life again.
So I decided it was time for a hike. Unfortunately, my usual hiking buddies were all busy.
But rather than let that hold me back, I headed out on the trail solo!
Normally, I don’t like hiking alone. It’s not my first choice for a variety of reasons, but this time getting out on the trail by myself was exactly what I needed.
I headed out to Staunton State Park out in Conifer, Colorado (fun fact, that’s the town the South Park tv show is based on!) and paid the $7 day-pass fee.
Mental clarity for only $7? What a steal!
My destination was Elk Falls, the park’s gorgeous waterfall. On the way there, I passed a tiny lake, incredible views and lots of Ponderosa Pines.
Growing up, I remember thinking that the air smelled sweet in Colorado. Turns out, there’s a reason for that.
So next time you’re walking through the rockies, start sniffing around the local trees. It’s cool, we do that here. Right guys? right?
In total, I hiked 13-14 miles in about five hours. Not bad for my first hike of the summer, but man did my feet hurt.
I returned home around lunch time where I promptly put my feet up and didn’t move. And for the first time in week, I felt perfectly content to relax on the couch. Life felt right again.
A Clearer Head
That’s the thing about nature. It tends to put your life back in perspective. When you’re outside and unplugged, you can’t be worrying about every little detail of your life. And as your mind wanders while you walk, you find clarity in all of the little nagging troubles that keep you up at night.
When I got home, I felt like ‘me’ again. My troubles didn’t feel like burdens anymore. I felt more in charge of my life and more capable of tackling my daily challenges.
Maybe it’s knowing I can walk a dozen miles by myself or maybe it’s feeling strong enough to embark on an adventure all on my own — either way, I felt strong and capable again.
Now it’s time to plan a camping trip!