We adore finding inspiration for getting outside in many ways and beautiful quotes about nature are one of them. From Ansel Adams to Walt Whitman, we've shared our favorites below.
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Five years ago today, I was laying in the dirt on a trail with a shattered and dislocated ankle with pieces of bone pressing against my skin so hard I developed fracture blisters that left scars that still remind me everyday of my accident. I literally felt like I could die from the pain before the fire department (aka amazing hero angels) would have time to get to me. I was supposed to be celebrating my birthday, not waiting to be rescued from one of my favorite trails. As I laid there, mostly in shock, and in indescribable pain, I couldn’t have imagined one day I would be grateful for my injury. I could have never guessed how much my life would change for the better, and how that traumatic injury would open a new path to becoming a happier and healthier me.
You see, before my accident, I was kind of a mess. I didn’t know how to say no to anyone, I was a hopeless perfectionist, an obsessive over achiever, a workaholic, and a chronic people pleaser. I never put myself first, and took care of everyone else before my needs were met. I lived mostly in the past, chained to past failures and hurts I didn’t know how to let go of, and my stress and anxiety were so out of control I began to manifest OCD symptoms, and panic attacks were fairly common. I was unhappy and really good at avoiding my emotions by staying busy and never stopping (physically, mentally, or spiritually) to feel them, let alone deal with them. It wasn’t the true me and it wasn’t healthy.
It’s amazing now looking back at my injury, and the difficult recovery, and being able to see what a special time that was for me. I’ve found my recovery, as hard as it was physically and even more so emotionally, was where the true healing was. I literally was forced to be quiet with myself for months. After two surgeries and two months in a wheelchair I couldn’t run out and help someone else when my emotions came up. I sat on my couch in pain, physically and emotionally, and was forced to feel what I had pushed down for so long. I cried- I cried so much, years worth of tears I never allowed to flow. I wrote in my blog and I started to feel myself healing. I started to feel like me again. I also understood how healing and important hiking was for me and knew it was something I really wanted to be able to do again and would not take for granted. I had a deep awakening and my perception really changed. I realized I had been living a life I didn’t want anymore and that I could change it as I create my own reality. The magic was already inside of me to do so, and all I had to do was turn it on.
I truly believe that everything in life (whether you perceive it as “good” or “bad”) happens for you and not to you. It took a severe injury and months of recovery and then five years of walking a new path to really understand the beauty in that. I’m still healing in so many ways, as we all are, and am grateful I am able to get in nature and hike as much as I can. Hiking is the one thing that puts my perspective back in a healthy place when I start to feel the old people pleasing, perfectionist, anxious, stressed out me show up. It truly is magical and now I get to share that magic with so many people through Hike It Off and even more with the launch of the magazine. This is my purpose. This is who I really am and I am so thankful for this journey, even the really tough and painful parts. So happy birthday to me and thank you for following me on this incredible journey we call life.
Earth Day is a big deal around here. We love celebrating it with a new way to show love for our planet each year. Here are five ways you can celebrate Earth Day too!
1. Plant an organic garden. There’s nothing like fresh home grown veggies and growing your own is easy, inexpensive, and helps save all the pollution from transporting your vegetables from the farm to your grocery store. Start with easy vegetables to grow like tomatoes, lettuces, and zucchini.
2. Ride your bike to work once a week. Get a workout and save gas money!
3. Volunteer at a local preserve/park/trail. There are tons of opportunities to volunteer and give back to your community open spaces. If you’re in CA, check out CalParks as they offer multiple volunteering dates in many of our state parks.
4. Start a pledge board at your work or school. Inspire others by posting pledges they can commit to all year to help keep our planet green. Some ideas are: stop using plastic water bottles, plant a tree, go paperless, use re-useable straws, and pick up litter once a month.
5. Take a hike! Get out there and enjoy what this earth has to offer.
A couple months after my accident (click here if you don’t know my story) my surgeon sent me to physical therapy to learn to walk again. I had been in a wheelchair for two months and my once strong legs were in a state of severe atrophy. My ligaments and tendons in my ankle were all stretched to their capacity and extremely unstable. Couple that with the throbbing pain I was still experiencing from having all my cartilage in my ankle blown out (think bone on bone) and the sheer trauma of the injury, I had a long and uphill recovery and was very concerned I wouldn’t be able to hike again.
I endured a couple months of physical therapy which got me from the wheelchair, to crutches, and then to walking, albeit with a severe limp and lingering pain. I was so happy for the progress but knew I needed something more, something that could not only further my healing physically, but mentally as well. No one talks about how difficult an injury like this is mentally. I was depressed, hooked on pain killers, and needing something else. Throughout my journey, I wrote a blog (see my blog here) that really helped expel some of the darkness I went through, but I was ready to move onto something that would connect my body and mind in unison healing.
So I joined my local yoga studio, Sage Yoga. I had practiced yoga years before and remembered how amazing it felt physically and mentally. It seemed like the perfect solution- and it was. I started easy and had the most amazing teachers who helped me modify the poses that adapted to my ankle’s abilities. I started building strength and balance again and felt 1000 times better mentally. One of the most important things yoga brought back in me was my confidence. Confidence to go on my first hike again. It was short and slow and I was kind of scared but after that hike I knew I would be ok.
I directly attribute yoga to my ability to hike again. I am sure without it, my recovery would have been much longer and harder and I may not have ever reconnected that part of me mentally that had also been damaged. Since then, yoga is still a big part of my life and continues to heal my body and mind. I continually torture my body with hiking- strained legs up mountains, tight hips from heavy packs, weak knees from downhill movement, and fatigued feet from miles upon miles of hiking. The one thing I have found that snaps my body back the fastest- yoga. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Some of my favorite yoga poses for post hikes are butterfly pose (hips), rag doll (lower back/Quads), pigeon (quads/hips), toes pose (plantar fascia- great if you have plantar fasciitis), dragonfly pose (hips), and any twist (multiple body parts).
So, I literally thank the universe for this every time I hike in the form of a yoga pose on my hike. It’s me honoring myself for taking care of me. So if you see me on top of a mountain in tree pose, you’ll know it’s my heart giving gratitude for the path that led me to being able to get to the top of that mountain physically and mentally and to be present in that moment to enjoy it for all that it is.
“Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.”- Urban Dictionary
Commitment seems to be one of those lost art forms, like curtsying or RSVP’ing to an event. People just don’t stay committed anymore- maybe it’s all the distractions in our modern life, but it seems so easy for many people to drop a girlfriend, block a friend, go from job to job, or just “quit” something without blinking an eye. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I strongly practice being impeccable with my word and sticking to my commitments. However, I am also really good at only committing to the things I know are good for my mind, body, and soul- like hiking.
There is no such thing as hiking without commitment, at least not any sustainable hiking anyways. If we’re not committed as hikers, we’re not going to get very far, and climbing mountains or doing multiple day backpacking trips will be nearly impossible. There is so much more than just walking down a trail to hiking. Commitment is hiking’s backbone, the needed structure to keep us standing tall when we feel like quitting. Commitment is pushing on when our legs feel like they are going to fall off and when we’re cold and hungry and are still miles from the destination. Commitment is when we have blisters and our hips are on fire and when we crest what we think is the last push before the peak only to realize we have another valley to cross and we keep going. Commitment is eating dehydrated food for days on end so we can stay another day on the trail. Commitment is unloading a small fortune on gear and spending hours upon hours in the wilderness, sometimes all alone with just our thoughts.
But as hikers, we know what the payoff for this commitment is. Absolute bliss. Absolute clarity. And a connection with ourselves and nature that nobody understands unless they have that same commitment. It is worth every time we’ve been cold, hungry, dirty, ate a nasty dehydrated meal, missed an event, had a low bank account, and survived painful blisters. It becomes our life not only on the trail, but off the trail too, and arms us with the power to do and change whatever we set out to do, just like climbing to the top of that mountain.
My goal every year is to hike as much as I can- and 2018 is no exception. Especially since my accident, I do not take being able to get outside and hike for granted, ever. You never know when that may change. I hope to inspire more people to get outside and experience the magic of hiking. I also know how perfect hiking is for me and my own inner growth and wellness. So who else is committing to more mountain peaks and getting outside as much as possible? I can’t wait to see you on the trail.
“Your life changes the moment you take a new, congruent, and committed decision”- Tony Robbins
I keep seeing an alarming discussion pop up over and over in some of the online women hiking groups I am a member of. The post comes in a few forms, and are equally ugly. They may change slightly in wording, but the core of all the posts is about wearing makeup while hiking with a barrage of women shaming other women for wearing makeup while hiking. I am shocked to see a normally supportive community of uplifting women hikers turn all colors of snarky when this topic comes up. What is so upsetting about someone wanting to wear makeup hiking?
Interestingly enough, a 2016 study published in Sage Journals discovered how straight women perceive other women’s makeup and it helps to explain why there is such a strong reaction on this topic. The top findings of the study were:
1. Women view other women who wear makeup as more dominant.
2. Women are more jealous of other women who wear makeup because they are seen as more promiscuous.
3. Women are naturally drawn to other women who wear makeup the way they do.
When we delve deep into this, it seems to boil down to the fear many of us have of not being good enough. We’ve been taught we must have perfect make-up, hair, and clothes to be beautiful by the mainstream media. We’ve learned that unless we are beautiful, we won’t get that job we want, or the friends we want, or the romantic relationship we want. According to the Association for Psychological Science, people that are seen as more attractive are treated better in most areas of their life than those deemed not as attractive. It’s a tough standard to live up to, and then throw in the other additional stresses of life and we get resentful, worn out, and maybe even a little bitter. Check out these seriously astonishing statistics posted on https://heartofleadership.org/statistics/ on just how we feel about ourselves: