Tag Archives: Hiking

Little Prayers in the Wind

Yesterday morning I decided to try the boots again. This time I wore some nice thick cotton socks in a dark blue, which is my favorite color, with them. My feet were snug inside my boots, and I could tell the difference from the first time I wore them.

It was a beautiful morning with a temperature around the low 50’s, warranting the need of just a light jacket for the hike. I had seen the forecast for the day earlier and saw there was some rain to come later in the morning. The clouds were far enough away, and I thought, “I should be able to get a couple of hours of hiking before the clouds come in.”

It’s amazing how the weather backfires on you.

Four miles in, I could feel my hands getting colder as I walked down the trail. I was listening to music on my headphones, and signing obliviously to the songs. The cold air was making it harder for me to sign, and the wind began to pick up strength. “Uh oh.” I turned around to see the gray clouds coming in faster than I had thought, and some southern clouds already began dropping rain onto the city below. The northern clouds had already creeped over the city and met with the southern clouds, covering the sun. From where I knew I was, it was a good couple of miles away from my car still. I started praying. The last thing I wanted was to be soaked in cold winter rain.

My ankles began to get sore. The top part of the boots were beginning to make things a little uncomfortable. The socks helped a little bit, but the pain had already set in. “Oh, God. Help me.”

Just then, a strong gush of wind pushed me further down the path. It felt like a strong hand telling me, “Keep going. I’ve got your back.”

I had to laugh at the timing. “God, I hear ya.” I pushed through the pain and climbed through the ups and downs. The amazing part was when I climbed up the steep inclines, my ankles felt better. When I climbed down the declines, the wind pushed me, keeping me from slowing down.

I began to recognize parts of the trail being close to end, and, suddenly, I saw something white fly past my face.

Shocked, I checked my phone to see what the temperatures were and was surprised to see the temperatures had dropped 20 degrees since I had been hiking. It was at 34 degrees, which explained my cold hands and the sight of snowflakes.

I had to smile. God knew I loved snow and could handle snowflakes better than rain drops.

I dug my heels into the trail and pushed through the last quarter mile while I buried my hands into my jacket and danced in my head to music from the Newsboys and Chris Tomlin.

I got to my car just as the snowflakes began to blow down even more, and I could see the city below getting their share of the cold mix of snow and possibly rain. What perfect timing, I thought. I was able to get into my warm car just in time, and when I arrived home, the snow had turned into sleet, which is definitely more uncomfortable to hike in.

God can answer even the littlest prayers.

It was also a reminder that I am not alone. My husband had told me, after the hike, that his friend, at hearing I had done this hike, was impressed with me for doing it alone. No, I had to disagree. I wasn’t alone. I had Him pushing me the whole way, making sure I didn’t slow down and get caught in the blustery wind and sleet. I managed to do 6 miles in 2 hours. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me.

It’s simple as that. God is good. Even in the little things.


Nature is my Medicine

With my feet having recovered from the overzealous hike from the previous weekend, and after having a rough anxiety filled day yesterday, I felt I needed to get out and spend some time alone with my thoughts. With the kids in school, I returned to the Green Mountains, wearing my trusty old tennis shoes this time, and began the trek I had gone before. The mud from the previous weekend had finally dried up, making the way easier, and I also decided to leave my hearing aids behind for this hike. I plugged in my headphones and cranked up my music, but I made sure I stayed to the right side of the path so bikers could just pass me if they came.

I like being deaf, and I also like just listening to music. One thing I will mention – music does sound different without my hearing aids. I hear the low sounds more than I do the higher pitches. When I have my hearing aids, I can hear a higher range of high pitches, though there are some high pitches I will never hear.

I was walking along the long stretch of the trail where there were several forks in the road for other trails, and I decided I didn’t want to walk the 8.9 miles of the weekend before. One fork looked inviting, and without hesitation, I strode down that path feeling confident I would find my way back to my car before it was time to get my kids.

I stayed to the right of the narrower trail, even though I had not seen very many hikers or bikers. I found an easy pace and found that this trail was one I liked. It dipped, turned, ascended, and descended along the small mountainside. It was definitely not a boring path! A couple of bikers and hikers passed me in that hour I walked this peaceful and narrow trail, and a few even smiled and waved as they went by. They were enjoying it as much as I was.

When I came to a part where the current trail met up with main one that looped around the mountain, I realized my hike was almost over. A mile and a half more was to the parking lot, but after the past 4 miles, I was beginning to feel the need to rest and go home. It was then I realized I wasn’t feeling any symptoms of anxiety. I was relaxed, breathing normally, my heart rate was normal (elevated from hiking but not from panic), and it was such a relief. I felt such a joy and a peace, and I was so thankful to have some respite from what I was feeling lately.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. When I got home and was resting after having cleaned myself up, the symptoms flared up and I had no choice but to take some medicine to help calm the symptoms.

As I waited for the symptoms to ease, I began to think about what had transpired.

Being outside had always been a place of peace for me, and hiking allowed my body to be in that place. The mountain isn’t something that man made. God did. I had medicine to help me ease the symptoms of the Anxiety Attacks, but the true peace was when I was around God’s creation.

Oh, I wish I could stay out there in nature all the time, but that’s not what God wants me to do. I realize now I have to take what peace I found out there in Him and bring it into the crazy and man made life I live in.

Isaiah hiking picture

I found this verse today, as well as a wonderful quote from St. Augustine of Hippo, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee.”

I have to remember I’m made for Him, and my heart will find it’s rest in God.

It doesn’t mean these symptoms will go away and never come back. I am still struggling with the symptoms, even though I trust God to take care of me. He will hold me. My heart might race, my hands might shake, I might feel claustrophobic, but, despite all that, He will hold me.

I have to believe that. I’ll remember the peace I had on that trail, and I’ll try to bring it into my everyday life. But on days I struggle and need to breathe and find peace, I’ll just be out on that trail with music blasting into my deaf ears. Thankfully, I have that!

My Dogs Were Howling

Yesterday, in all my excitement of getting some nice hiking boots for my birthday, I thought, “I need to break them in!” I thought I would go for a nice hike and enjoy wearing some really good shoes for the adventure.

I had decided to go to a mountain that was close to home and pick a trail path from a trail app I had on my phone, Alltrails. I saw one I thought would be good. “Green Mountain Trail” had a moderate to hard rating (I wanted a good challenge) and was said to be 8.7 mile loop. I was feeling pretty confident that I could do that just fine. I had done a couple of long hikes before, so this was supposed to be a piece of cake.

I just didn’t consider one factor – New shoes. Another factor I learned afterwards – You need good socks for hiking boots! I wore dress socks, thinking they would be just fine. I was in for a surprise.

The first hour of the hike was fine, even though I had to adjust the laces on my boots a couple of times as the ankle portion of the boots felt a little uncomfortable. The hike itself was beautiful. There was some mud from melting snow and the wind was blowing pretty strong. I could hear it howl and blow into my hearing aids, which, honestly, was annoying after a while.

I didn’t take off my hearing aids for one reason only; I needed to hear for any bicyclists coming down the path behind me. I can’t say it was a perfect solution as there were several of them who called out last minute and I couldn’t tell if they were saying “To your left!” or “To your right!”. There were a couple who I know didn’t even say those words, but I couldn’t catch what one word they yelled as they passed. However, I did get a clue of what ¬†one rider yelled out from another bicyclist, who was riding down in front of me, as he came and apologized to me for the other biker’s behavior as he politely rode by. All I could do was roll my eyes at myself as I could guess what rude word the other man used.

Dress socks don’t work with hiking boots for several reasons, as I came to learn at about the 4 mile marker. One, they’re a thin slippery layer of fabric between my feet and the inside form of the boots. I tighten the laces, but I felt the chafing of the fabric more around my ankles as I walked. I loosened the laces, but it made my feet move a whole lot more inside the boots. You know what happens when your feet shift around in new shoes.

By the 6th mile, I was leaning into my hiking trail poles to ease some of the pain in my ankles and my toes. I began to pray I could make it to the parking lot where my beloved car sat waiting for me. I had no music to distract me, but after that rude biker, I knew I was better off being more aware of what was around me. So, instead of music, I began to focus on my surroundings and try to figure out where I was according to the map I had. That might have been torture, but it kept my mind on pushing through the pain to make it back to my car.

It wasn’t long before I was beginning to think about having a glass of wine when I got home, and soaking my tortured feet in hot water. I was also thinking, “I have got to get some better socks before I go hiking again. I’m also not going to take a long one until I KNOW these boots are ready for it.”

Hope of reaching my car very soon came in the sight of seeing some familiar trail markings I had seen from previous hikes at the mountain. I realized I was at the part where the trail reaches a fork into another trail I had been on previously. “I’m almost there!” Sure enough, the trial marking, which was a weather beaten fence rail at the top of a small peak of the Green Mountains, I see the parking lot down below. “Oh, hallelujah.” I breathed as I moved as quickly as my aching and throbbing feet would allow me. My hiking poles became my crutches, balancing me as I went to down the rocky and uneven trail path.

Once I reached the bottom, my dogs howled. No, not literally, but my poor feet felt like they were howling as I finally came to a stop at the trunk of my car. When I got home, I found a nice blister on one toe, several sore spots on other toes, and a nice bruise on one ankle. My glass of wine was a nice reward from that life-learning-adventure.

So, if you get some nice hiking boots, don’t do what I did. Wear good socks and go for a nice 3 mile hike to break them in. I know I’ll be doing that for a while until my boots feel awesome and ready for some really great hikes around here.