Hike 9 | I was free of the soul sucking sadness that comes with stepping on the scale and watching the number climb or trying on everything in my closet before determining that nothing will hide my pregnant looking belly. I was free.
Hike 8 | You know when you suggest a hike to a group of friends who you’ve never really hiked with before – and then you realize that you don’t really know where you’re going? Yeah. That was this hike. But it’s also pretty much my whole life.
I pay attention to my surroundings and who I am with. I am vigilant no matter what situation I’m in. I am careful. I have always been careful. But being careful didn’t stop me from ending up in a bad situation.
Hike 7 | Part way through this hike – it was a slow amble at best, I had to cut it short. I told Stu that it wouldn’t count, that it wasn’t long enough, I hadn’t achieved enough, it wasn’t. . . enough.
My mom is anxiously waiting for my return – in part so that I can say goodbye, but also so she doesn’t have to do it alone. As I settle into my nine-hour drive home, I think about the last time I made such a heartbreaking journey.
Hike 6 | Even though we were disappointed to miss out on completing the whole Skoki Loop, the smoke did clear enough for us to spend two days on it. I learned a few things on this hike - from the practical to the ridiculous - and here there are!
Fear is a topic that isn't often publicly discussed in mountain biking. Admitting to feeling it can cause us to feel insecure, uncomfortable, and isolated. After speaking to athletes about it, it also became clear that feeling fear is neither a limiter or predictor of success.
Instead of heading Dad’s advice – as you tend not to do with parents – I got a tattoo of swallow about eight years ago, as a tribute to him, on my left bicep. After he passed I got a second swallow on the same arm. Finally, the other day, while I was sitting on the couch doing nothing in particular, it occurred to me what I would write in a banner if I had one. And so, I made another appointment.
Hike 5 | Expectations can be both motivating and devastating. No matter how much we try not to anticipate something, try not to get too excited, or try not to think about what the future holds, we can still find ourselves completely disappointed when our Tinder date spends the night talking about his mom – or in this case when wildfires threaten to cancel your hike.
Below is a look at what I've packed for a multi-day hike of the Skoki Loop. This is by no means a minimalist hiking list. I've carefully balanced comfort and weight while planning out what I would take.