Hike #7 | 100m Elevation Gain | 7.5km Hiked
I argued with Stu about including this hike in my #40hikes goal. I had just returned from three days of hiking and camping in Banff and I was tired. We hiked around Brohm Lake with the intention of including a couple of the lookouts to make it a bigger day. Part way through this walk – 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. Stu countered that it’s important to share all aspects of achieve this goal – including the sometimes-debilitating exhaustion that I still occasionally struggle with. And of course, he was right.
When my ambitions and physical self don’t line up I deal with strong feelings of disappointment. But the mental practice of accepting my body’s limitations when I need to in order to be able to tackle bigger activities when I can, is making me stronger. There are a lot of challenges that come with not knowing what to expect from your energy levels each day and I can end up feeling constantly let down when I wake up with a big plan that I’m not able to accomplish but there are things that help. I have made a list of hikes that I want to accomplish – some long, some short, some local, some far away. If I have set aside a day for hiking and I wake up in the morning feeling great, then I will go ahead with whatever big adventure I have my sights set on. If I don’t quite have it in me or if my week is packed and I can’t afford to have a day of recovery, then I will pick an easier option. I’m working towards my goal no matter which hike I opt for and that feels good.
There are still some days that I don’t get out at all. They are fewer and farther between than in the past and I try to remember that in taking a rest day I’m still working towards my goal – I won’t get there if I wear myself down.
After we decided to cut this hike short and only walk around the lake instead of adding in the lookouts, I enjoyed our wandering a lot more. We made a lot of stops to look at the nature around us and I spent much of time thinking about the last time we had hiked around Brohm Lake. It was last year, and it was pouring rain. Every trail we followed seemed to dead end at the water and we ended up having to hike straight up a slope of slippery roots and mud. The sleeves of my puffy jacket sucked up all the moisture, wicking it up my arms under my rain coat and my shoes were full of water. I was probably really uncomfortable, but I only remember being incredibly nervous. I was in love with Stu, but I didn’t know how to tell him. I spent the whole time wondering if I was supposed to wait for him to tell me or if I could get up the guts to tell him first. I almost said it when we were standing on the rocky outcropping looking at the dreary view of the lake, and I also almost said it when we were crossing the bridge, and I also almost said it when we were in the forest surrounded by towering old growth trees – but it never quite came out.
Finally, we were back in the car, soaked to the core. Stu started it and got ready to back out of the parking lot. I panicked and blurted out “I love you.” But I didn’t leave it at that. I was so nervous that it felt like I was speaking front of an audience (the only thing scarier to me than snakes) and I just kept babbling at high speed. I think I said something along the lines of, “you don’t have to say it back, but I just wanted to –” Stu interrupted me. He said, “I love you too,” and went on to tell me that he’d been waiting to say it because he hadn’t found the right moment. We had both wanted to create the perfect memory for the first time we told each other but instead we were drenched and shivering in a car; my hair was plastered to my forehead and dripping in my eyes and the water in my shoes was leaking out and pooling on the floor mat. This is one of my favourite memories of us.
Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you expect or want. Sometimes the words come out at the wrong time and sometimes you don’t have the energy to accomplish the goal you’ve set. But when you accept it rather than fighting it, you are more likely to end up moving in the right direction instead of exhausting yourself by trying to change the things beyond your control. My personal mantra: be okay with the short hike and be okay with soggy love.