There is a children's song I know with these lyrics, "When we're helping, we're happy, and we sing as we go..." I find this tune running through my head when I'm hiking in the great outdoors, and of course, I change the words to suit me, and it comes out like this, "When I'm HIKING, I'm happy, and I sing as I go..."
What is it about hiking that speaks to our spirit? It wasn't until I was in college in Utah that I actually began hiking. We did midnight hikes in Hobble Creek Canyon, day hikes to Mount Timpanogos, and overnight hikes in the beautiful Uintahs. I had hiked alone, with my Lab Gordon, on dates, and with small groups of friends. There never seemed to be a bad way to go.
"A bad day hiking is still better than a good day at school," seemed to be our motto. Hiking in those days was a great stress reliever, and a welcome break from classes. Having this first-hand experience with nature seems to settle my soul.
After college and early on in my teaching career, I was married and had children. It never seemed feasible for me to take my little ones. People do it, and I wish I had persevered, but through no one's fault but my own, I just didn't do it.
I tried to enjoy the mountains in my own way, bouncing along in our old truck to scout for deer, or elk, or bear. We checked traps and did little short walks from the truck to the traps and back again. I would walk while my family fished. I never was much for hunting and fishing, and somehow I allowed those activities to detract from my connecting with nature.
|Colorado Rocky Mountain High 2012|
After my 22 year marriage ended, I knew that I would have to make my way back to the Granola Girl I left behind those many years ago. Hiking was the natural solution, and it has helped me reconnect with my children, and myself.
It has been my extreme pleasure to hike with my grown children. I feel like I have had to make up for missed opportunities when they were younger. We hike the deserts and mountains near Saint George with Dylan, Colorado with Sierra, and central and southern Utah with Bridger.
We have all grown closer through these outdoor experiences. Having adventures is what adds more depth and dimension to our lives. Hiking gives us opportunities for private reflection, quiet conversation, and finding humor in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
We keep adding hikes to our bucket list. The longer my list grows, the happier I am. This year I hope we make it to Angels' Landing in Zion National Park. I want to explore the trails above Monrovian Park on Monroe Mountain. A visit to the Grand Canyon is long overdue; I've never seen it, and I have lived in the Rockies since 1979! I know that when I'm hiking, I'm happy. And there's a lot to be said for being happy!