This blog entry has been written by Patricia S. A first time backpacker and mother of three spent two nights outside in our Desert Awakenings course offering. We didn’t change a word of her experience.
Making a connection—in any facet, whether with people, yourself, your pets, your job or nature—is an intense emotional experience. If you can truly manage to make a deep resonant connection, you’ll find yourself in a state of peaceful, deep appreciation—an attitude of gratitude if you will.
My life is the most fulfilling and rewarding it’s been in years, even though catering to the needs and demands of work, home and three children requires most, if not all, of my time. Consistently meeting deadlines and keeping appointments at work, constant laundering for my family of five, making dinners, washing dishes, attending soccer games and wrestling tournaments, and the list goes on, takes a lot out of a woman.
Recently, during a period of utter depletion, sheer exhaustion and intimate soul-searching, I asked myself what I would like to do just for myself. Not for the kids. Not for the husband. Not for the dog or cat. Just for me.
With an innate desire to try something out of the ordinary—something new and different, something adventurous and exciting—I decided to book a two-night guided backpacking trip with Step Outdoors, LLC. My husband thought me crazy as a loon, especially since my extent of experience in the outdoors mainly consisted of day hikes and picnic lunches with the kids and the dog; or the seldom overnight, yet elaborate “take everything, including the kitchen sink” tent camping excursions in the surrounding mountains of the San Juan National Forest. Even then, we never ventured farther than a hundred yards or so from where the vehicle came to rest, or strayed from the marked, well-worn hiking trails.
Let me be clear, I was nervous, intimidated, excited and anxious about my trip with Step Outdoors, LLC. I am an overweight woman whose boundaries for exercise are limited to short, random two-mile walks with the dog. I was desperately afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish the journey. Prior to the trip, I had numerous personal conversations with my trip leader, which eased my worries. She reassured me that the destination was not nearly as important as the journey itself. Not only did I manage the ten mile hike, I had to remind myself to stop—take pictures, breathe, smell the cactus flowers—and take my time. It was my time, after all.
My experience on the trail was utterly fascinating, simply breathtaking, fully exhilarating and emotionally charged. I learned about Leave No Trace principals and proper trail etiquette. My trip leader taught me basic backpacking and camping skills that I will forever build upon in the future. I am already visualizing another guided adventure with Step Outdoors, LLC., this time with my 8, 10 and 14 year old children. I hope to introduce them to another aspect of the outdoors that will thrill and excite them as much as it did me.
I am amazing. I enjoyed the beautiful journey. I reached my intended destination. I smelled the sagebrush and flowers, and drank from spring waters. I camped in the snow, and dug my own cat hole. I ate wonderful food, and talked incessantly. Coyotes put me to sleep at night, and cattle woke me in the morning. I truly feel as though I connected with the essence of nature, and I am left feeling rejuvenated and relaxed, consumed by the drive and desire to do it again and again. Thank you for the most wonderful outdoor experience this woman, this wife and mother has ever had. Until next time, that is.