I recently went for a new to me hike, one I would have never done had it not been for the rugged safety of a vehicle belonging to someone else. I think back to some of the trails I hiked in the past and the roads I took to get there, and you couldn’t talk me into driving those roads again even if you told me a cupcake was waiting for me at the end.
My Toyota sedan has done her job, and she has retired to calm terrain only these days.
The destination was Maiden Peak, and the road to the Deer Park Campground where we started our hike isn’t the worst terrain, but the constant uphill on gravel roads without 4WD would give my tender little heart a bout of anxiety if in my car. I am thankful for friends who have more trail appropriate vehicles and are willing to carpool to these hikes.
They have allowed me to see places I likely wouldn’t venture to alone.
The benefit of driving up quite a ways is the payoff at the end of the hike, and we topped off at 6200ft. Starting at a higher elevation meant this hike started cold. We’re talking high 30’s cold. I was surprised by how cold it was when we started, and while I prefer hiking in cooler temps this was a bit of a shock to the system. The trail starts off with a walk downhill, which is always a sign some brutal Scheisse is about to come. What goes down, must go up.
Right as rain the trail had such a steep incline I thought my calves were going to spontaneously combust.
The trail gains 2100ft of elevation, and at times it felt like 1000ft of this was all at once. Trails like this open up to expansive views that are indescribable, and while the struggle was real at times I very much enjoyed this hike. It wasn’t all an uphill battle though, we evened out a handful of times for a reprieve, much like my mood after I come down from the sudden cortisol spike after too much coffee.
We sat at our chosen destination of Maiden Peak for roughly ten minutes before the weather started to take a turn. The views of the surrounding mountains began to disappear as a thick fog rolled in. I enjoy when the weather is a combination of sun and clouds, it somehow feels like two different hikes. Alas, my bones grew cold once again and we packed our bags to begin our descent.
I wasn’t cold for long as the trail began moving up and down like a wave, and the final push at the end (walking up the hill we initially went down) was enough to get my core temperature back up to baseline. We managed 8 miles of trail, 4 hours of conversation, and a full day of fun. These coworkers turned friends of mine are what keep me at my current job.
That and the fact that I still don’t know what’s next.
I’m a simple gal, with simple goals for my life. I want a roof over my head, good food in my belly, fun adventures here and there, and deep connections from select humans. I want to drink hot coffee atop mountains, cook nourishing meals while listening to Noah Kahan, read a book when it’s raining outside, soak in a hot tub under the stars with snow all around me, and ride my bike or walk through the woods with autumn leaves crunching under my tires or feet.
I want to cuddle with my partner through the silence of the night, feel the low hum of my cats purr on my chest while resting on my favorite chair, sit in silence with my family while we each engage in our own activities, run on backcountry roads past cows and sheep with the smells of farmland wafting through my nostrils, cry until my temples ache, and laugh until my abs are sore.
I want to live in each moment and to take each day as it comes, learning from others and learning from myself.
My current job aligns with my current priorities in life, and in time those will both change. Life doesn’t have to be complicated, and I am at a point where I no longer feel the need to conform to a template built by anyone other than myself. Living an authentic life created exclusively by me – that is what I call success.
Q: What are the ingredients for the successful soup of your life?