Sometimes we become so focused on the finish line, that we fail to find joy in the journey.
I met Alison Heebsh when the Minnesota Rovers Outdoor Club invited me and my friend Brenda to make a presentation for members about our hike of the Border Route Trail in Northern Minnesota. Her sunny nature and can-do spirit is infectious and I have to say, her hiking story rings true for all of us “blissful hikers!”
“Day two always sucks.”
Those were the words of my colleague, Joel, the day I returned to the office. He’d asked about my week on the Colorado Trail and I replied, “Amazing! Beautiful!” Then I added, “Oh, except day two. Day two really sucked.”
Joel was right. Looking back on my previous long backpacking trips, day two does, in fact, always suck, and pretty much for the same reasons.
Walking is how the body measures itself against the earth.
I was asked earlier this week to participate in the Minnesota Women’s Press August “Body” issue by answering this question in 500 words or less, “How do you nourishes your body and soul?” Here’s a preview of my answer and I look forward to those of my fellow Minnesotan sisters!
There’s really no trail from Royal Hut to Stag Saddle. Instead, in typical Kiwi fashion, it’s a pick-your-way between orange markers on soggy, tussocky humps of grass, back and forth across a boulder-strewn stream, and straight up from one false summit to the next. The sun is hot in a bluebird sky and the route is steep. I’m glad I have hiking poles.
Yesterday, the trail got the best of me. I sat down to rest and immediately started crying, ready to quit and go home. Today is day 100 of a thru-hike of New Zealand. I put life on pause to walk this, a risk I was willing to take before my arthritic feet impeded my “full time pedestrian” status.
I’m known as the Blissful Hiker and one would assume it’s walking that nourishes my body and soul. That’s true, of course, but it’s only part of the story.
My earliest memory is of looking down at my feet in wonder as they moved me up to the back door of our church where my father was the minister. Up there, was nursery school! I can still see the dappled light on the sidewalk, roly-poly caterpillars in brown and black, my arms swinging, propelling me along. The moment is indelible because it was the first time I felt in charge of my being, drunk on the power of the simple act of moving myself forward with my legs.
I would get a lot of writing done if I lived in isolation in a cave under a swamp.
I “met” Julie Singh on-line when she contacted me about my life as the Blissful Hiker. I have to say, I envy what she has carved out for herself as a full-time RV-based explorer, biker, hiker, paddler, skier and outdoor advocate. With her husband Reet, she founded TripOutside, an all-in-one for researching top outdoor destinations, finding adventures and gear from the best local outfitters, and booking it all online. This is a superb and comprehensive list on how to stay sane – and fit in body and mind – during this unprecedented moment.
There’s no denying that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has put a stop to almost all outdoor activities. With increased home quarantines and social distancing measures, cancelling outdoor adventures has become the new norm. This may leave you bored, anxious, and searching for ways to stay fit. We feel ya! That’s why we’ve put together this guide with ways to stay sane and active during the pandemic.
We are here on the planet only once, and might as well get a feel for the place.
Ann Juergens and I serve on the board of the Schubert Club, a classical concert presenting organization in Saint Paul. At our last meeting, before social distancing when it was still safe to share a glass of wine and small talk in close quarters, Ann shared with me how she walks every day and everywhere, too.Ann is a model for how we can all become #blissfulhikers even during a Pandemic.
From my front porch I watch people I’ve never seen before walking past my home. On the last day of March it is 55 degrees, and they walk down the middle of this residential street, on the sidewalks or on the grass, with dogs or with one other person, or, if in a group of 3 or 4, they walk with social distance between them. Dozens and dozens of people, they walk briskly with ear buds and babies and beverages or slowly with limp, walker or cane.
The pandemic and its shelter-at-home mandates are pushing people to walk as never before in memory. When the four walls of our domestic cells become too much, we no longer hop into the car and head to another place. At least we’ve been instructed not to do that unless for an essential errand. So every day after some hours of work or schooling, when my St. Paul neighbors and I need to get out of our homes, we rely on our itchy feet.
The one thing you learn is when you can step out of your comfort zone and be uncomfortable, you see what you’re made of and who you are.
I met Vicky Duran at a rehearsal for the Greater Twin Cities Youth Orchestra. I was narrating a new piece and her daughter, Charity, was playing violin. We hit it off immediately, sharing a love for her beautiful home state, Washington, as well as how the simple act of lacing up our shoes and taking a walk with intention can change our lives.
There’s something to be said about personal body image and the fear of losing it.
Hi, my name is Vicky Duran and I’m 52 years old. I was a more athletic person than not in my younger days; basketball, racquetball, skiing, softball; you could find me in the middle of any of these games. I rode horses, wrangled kids, bucked bails of hay in my teenage years, and did a lot of swimming in college.
Then I married and started a family. I taught in the classroom for a few years before turning my sights to homeschooling and shuttling kids around to their various activities. Slowly age and inactivity took a toll on my body and how I saw myself.