So last night, we spent Saturday night on a mountain in Idaho. Unprepared for what I was getting myself into, I followed 4 other people up a vertical trail. Mind you, my sore legs have only ever known the Midwest, the very flat Midwest. About half way up, snow appeared, turning into about a foot of frozen snow. We reached the top at sunset, which was stunning, but it also meant that the entire hike back down would now be in the dark. I was only wearing my mesh Vivobarefoot shoes, which are great for hikes, but not snowy ones. My toes and fingers went numb early on.
With just a couple headlamps and one flashlight, we hiked back down in the dark, slipping on ice and avoiding holes made from elk tracks. The worst part was when you would finally find some dirt to walk on for traction, just to find that it was just disguised ice. I fell at least a dozen times. I did not have a light of my own, so I was dependent on a headlight behind me and a flashlight in front. Occasionally, the light would go away as the guys would scan the treeline for bears or mountain lions. Once we made it past the snow, it was just a vertical jog down the remainder of the mountain. Although it was a relief not being on ice, it was just as hard on my tired body, as we basically had to run down steep inclines. I went down once again on the dirt and rocks, ripping my jeans. Four hours later, we were back at the truck.
This morning, my knee joints were extremely sore from all of the jarring jumping around going down, and I have a nasty knot and cut on my shin from the dirt fall. The multiple falls on the ice messed up my hands from catching myself over and over, strangely, the back of my hands, as if I had pinched the blood vessels. Any time my hands are lowered, they begin to throb, and the vessels are all swollen.
I saw all of this, not to complain, or even brag, but to just say how grateful I am for all of these new adventures. Sometimes you can get so caught up in eating right, taking supplements, going to the gym, that you never really just go out and let your body experience something uncomfortable and unnerving and tiring. Yes, I am sore, and yes, I may have complained a lot while we were out there, but I loved every second of it. Our bodies are capable of amazing things, and as important as it is to take care of them in the kitchen and gym, we have to let our bodies experience and do.
We could have just gone out to eat, and sat on the couch watching a movie, but somehow we ended up on a cold, dark mountain. That's what life is about, experiences, memories, and being uncomfortable sometimes. We just get so used to being comfortable, with our heaters, A/C, and cars. But toughing out a situation every once in a while is good for the body and good for soul, resilience, and your mental wellness.
I am sure anyone that has done this particular hike is laughing at me right now for being so dramatic, but like I said, I am from Iowa/Oklahoma, where we have hills. And just hills. I am very inexperienced. Also, I went in very unprepared. This was not meant to be a mesh shoes kind of hike! That said, I am looking forward to many more of these kinds of Saturday nights. Go out and have your own adventure!