If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Sunday, August 26, 2018


The longer the journey, the less weight each moment carries.” That's life to you...

Well, if you stopped by on the tail of my story on Colorado trail throughhike in hopes to find something exciting - you may exit now, and unfollow the link that lead you here. Fun stuff of that magnitude happens only once a year, the rest of it - simply life. Like yours, and your next door neighbor's. This blog is my journal, my diary, and besides myself, my husband. and a (quite literally) a handful of my close friends, nobody else cares about a journey I take on a daily basis.

As always, coming from such a high as 15 days in the mountains, and in the fancy word of an FKT to boot, was hard. The mountain lions helped though, in a weird way. They've taken my high down to reality. While I swore off solo hiking, of course, as time passed, I considered some - smaller versions, and certainly only if I can camp near other hikers, what means the trail can't be too remote and underpopulated. But in general, I am truly looking forward hiking with Larry. More so, I am looking forward living in a state which I just hiked through.

With that, two words coming from some odd source, have been highlights of the first couple of weeks post-arrival to Austin:

#1. Sisu is an untranslatable Finnish term that blends resilience, tenacity, persistence, determination, perseverance and sustained, rather than momentary, courage: the psychological strength to ensure that regardless of the cost or the consequences, what has to be done will be done. I can relate to that.
#2. Russian word Toska. It translates as yearning or ennui, except it doesn’t. Spiritual anguish, a deep pining, perhaps the product of nostalgia or love-sickness, toska is depression plus longing, an unbearable feeling that you need to escape but lack the hope or energy to do so. Toska is a sign that your emotions go beyond logic and that you are really, truly living your emotions. Besides longing the trail, simplicity, and solitude, I was in a deeper hole also because I felt as if I lost a few people I considered good friends. Not "lost" as in "something happened", just realized how far apart we've drifted in so many different angles...and the "amount" of those who are left in a category "replaced me family" dwindled drastically. As often is the case, I feel more lonely in civilization then when I am alone in the vast space of big mountains...
There, two vast ends of a huge spectrum of human being. Things improved, of course. Mundane tasks of everyday's living took over, work, chores I missed so much, back to exercising 6 days a week, double-a-day fun, things to return to think about - and the oh, so close dream of moving soon. Plus, the local Trail Running Store  set me up for a talk about the hike - so I had to get ready. Re-living the days on the trail was like putting a stamp of a closure to the whole trip, leaving it behind and moving on. The talk happened to be 4 weeks after I finished - and even more interestingly, coincidentally 4 years after I set my feet for my first solo through-hike of Tahoe Rim Trail (thanks to FB for a reminder). 40 plus people showed up - and after initial jitters, I was flowing in memories and passion. Everybody listened! Faces lit up, elbows on knees, nobody was scrolling on their phones, nobody left early, and everyone laughed at the right moments. Apparently, I am funny, and definitely passionate. Duh. If Larry didn't keep showing me the watch, I could go on forever, but I guess I was on time (I had no idea how long I rambled, somewhere over an hour and 20 min). There were questions, hugs, and applause. I loved doing it - and now I am truly over this part of "toska".
And the knitting helped. Finally, the inspiration came back, and that, too, was flowing. A complicated cardigan and a lacy scarf for a friend (using pattern from Japanese Stitch Pattern Bible) emerged, and a few more projects in the works - thanks to the close-out sale at one of the best yarn stores in 30 mile radius.
And that's about all I am willing to talk about. One thing to end is to share this quote - by a guy who through-hiked PCT this summer (in an insane 78 days, the style I admire and adhere to).

"Freedom exists in your mind, not on the trail. Take it with you wherever you go from here." Farley.

Motivation is a powerful tool. Life is a never-ending series of kicks. The only way you can get from where you are to where you want to be is find the motivation deep inside your soul.


Jill Homer said...

Wish I could have attended your talk! Your stories has furthered my interest in solo-thru-hiking the Colorado Trail, possibly next summer. No, I won't be going for the fastest known time, but I love the style in which you completed it.

Lori said...

Just how close are you to moving?

mike burke said...

Damn Girl! You have a soul as big as your hikes

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