2019 is so far a pretty great year for me. I finally feel that I have my health back. The last few months have been in fact, eye-opening for me.
I truly didn’t realize how run down I had been and how I was simply relying on my will to get through each day. This might sound like an exaggeration – after all, I really didn’t miss a step after my last surgery in April 2018 – I got back to life and living fairly quickly.
I was out doing things. Living life. But it was at quarter-speed and as 2018 started to wind down, I was a fraction of my normal self. Fortunately this is all behind me and after a few challenging months at the start of the year – I feel like myself.
To celebrate my newfound health (fingers crossed), I promised myself that I would try new things in 2019.
Gravel riding and racing? Sure – I’ll try it – and yes, I used to strongly dislike it – but, it’s a new year so why not? And guess what? I enjoy it. I’ve discovered beautiful roads, pushed myself harder than I have in a long time, and been fortunate to ride with some fantastic people.
Hiking in the White Mountains? Okay, I’ll give it a go. No camping required. I’ve long been obsessed with reading memoirs of people who have thru-hiked the AT, PCT, and CDT. Besides, what could be better than being out in nature for a couple of days completely disconnected from reality?
This past weekend – it happened. I went hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The entire weekend was very well organized thanks to our amazing guides/leaders from the Appalachian Mountain Club. The accommodations at Joe Dodge Lodge and Madison Springs Hut were excellent. (No tents required!) The people in our group were diverse, interesting, and inspiring. The nature was stunning. The views from Madison Springs Hut were outstanding.
But, about that hiking. Yeah, not a fan. The terrain of the Valley Way Trail pushed me far outside my comfort zone. To a spot I haven’t been to in a very long time. It takes a lot to make me feel afraid and lack confidence. This trail did it. There were tears. The hike up to Madison Springs Hut on Saturday and the descent on Sunday to the trailhead were not my top experiences.
However, I did it. I got through it. I was slow. I was cautious. I was afraid. I was nervous. But I was in nature. And now I know that hiking is not for me. This is okay. I’m cool with this.
This is all part of living. Trying new things. Discovering what I enjoy and what I don’t. Now, I don’t want to make the weekend sound horrible. It was still really great. Meeting new people, being at Madison Springs Hut, and just having a get-away were all major pluses.
The lingering question now is – what will I try next in 2019?
I think the best thing I can do is keep my eyes, ears, and soul open. Keep looking. Keep seeing. Keep listening. Keep hearing. Keep feeling. This is how I’ll discover new challenges, experiences, people, and opportunities.