This photo is mine, taken on the West Coast Trail in July 2015. Four of us, all over 40, willing to strap 40 pounds of sleeping and cooking gear to our back, eat dehydrated food for six days and camp on the (cold) sand (in the Tsunami zone) with the roar of the Pacific at our ears.
It was a highlight. And it was FUCKING. HARD.
It was the first time I’d slept in a tent, had to fetch water from a stream (sometimes no more than a trickle) and hike 8-10 hours a day over rocks and up ladders with 20-60 (sometimes slippery) rungs and over snaggy, craggy, boggy trails gnarled with tangles of black, slick roots.
And it was exquisite.
The smells of salt in the air and the moist dank forest floor. We had laughs (and a few tears) and we just kept putting one foot in front of each other for 75 kilometers – up mountain ridges, across creek beds filled with stones and boulders and over suspension bridges 30 feet above rocked and rivers.
It was lush and rich with green and brown and rocks and water. It was slippery and stony and we thought about every foot step before it landed. At minimum, a twisted ankle would mean slowing the group substantially and a painful journey – and worse, emergency evacuation. At the very worst, a careless step could send you down 150 feet of sheer rock cliff to a rock shelf and crashing waves.
It was exhausting and harder than I expected. But there are no words to describe the wonder and beauty and lessons learned.
If only we could understand life challenges with such acceptance and grace.
Just keep walking.
Oh wow! Look at that.
One foot in front of the other.
Damn, this hurts.
Ohmigawd, did you see that amazing thing??
Oh, this is hard!
But man, it is so beautiful!
May I always choose to approach my life with eyes open. With courage and faith. With energy and with appreciation. Bring on a beautiful new year filled with endless joyful opportunities to learn and love. And keep my heart soft to those who need me. Amen.