Hello again! Today’s Sunday hike took me to Cecret Lake. Long story short: I got pretty emotional driving up and was pretty emotional the whole way. What’s wrong with me?
I was just going to hike to the Albion Meadows and then back down, but I got to the meadow, saw the sign for Cecret Lake, and decided to do that too. Albion Meadows is a meadow about halfway up the mountain that is ridiculous with the wildflowers. It was literally breathtaking. That is a really weird word to say, but honestly, it fits. I turned the first corner off the trailhead and hiked a few feet up a hill and BAM. My phone camera was basically a failure at capturing it, but I did try for a few. Here you go.
Gratuitous Selfie #1, in front of pink flowers that were my favorite
All the way up and there’s a lake. Not so secret, which is why I think it’s spelled with a C. The National Parks Service knew they weren’t fooling anyone. Clever fellas. I saw a woodpecker, many chipmunks, many squirrels, and nigh on 15,000 salamanders. I ate lunch there. The pudding was a mistake.
As I jiggled back down, I met a guy on his way up the switchbacks. He had a contraption on his knee like he had recently had surgery. So of course I asked him, “What the hell are you doing on top of a mountain!?” He said, “I’ve got to be active. Once you stop being active, your life stops too.”
I don’t know if he was trying to be infinitely wise or not, but I felt like it really was. I hadn’t realized that until I started shedding my old life, before I made the conscious decision to stop conforming and try something new, I felt like I was finally actually living. The hikes have helped enormously. Even my new life was starting to feel a little stagnant. But I feel like I was finally active in my own life and realized how small my life had been before. Anyway. More words.
Stuff to bring next time:
Hand sanitizer: I touched salamanders and then touched a sandwich (and ate it, yes I did). I don’t feel good about it. I went to the potty at the Meadow. The hand sanitizer in the restroom was out. I don’t feel good about that either.
Oh, I guess that’s it. Except it’s Gratuitous Selfie Time!
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I am woman. See me wander.
While my husband and kids were out for their weekly indoctrination, I decided to do something different. I wanted to get out and about, do something good for my mind, body, and soul. I used to depend on church for the mind and soul part, and without that dragging me down into endless guilt and misery, I have felt the need to replace it with something else, something better, something lighter.
So up the mountain I went.
I am 220 pounds. I don’t mind telling you that. I also don’t mind you knowing that exactly none of that one-tenth+ a metric ton of me is muscle, other than the muscles it took to rally and work together to haul my fat ass up a mountain today. Think I’m big? Check this guy out:
Talk about plus size. I know it’s not as big as other mountains, but for me, the trail leading up to the waterfall at the top was long as fuck.
I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I know a lot about the wilderness. My first husband was only like two generations from Cro-Magnon and was basically a bear, and he taught me lots of stuff. So I was pretty prepared to make my trek, with a stick in one hand in case I ran into any creatures that I needed to poke to check for signs of life before running away and (probably) suffering a long and painful fall down the mountain. That’s how the wilderness works, correct? Well, a lot of good being married to a caveman did.
I eventually made it to the top, and someone was gracious enough to offer to take my photo. I explained to her, unsolicited of course, that climbing this mountain was an enormous feat, as it had just occurred to me that the last time I had done it, I was half my age and literally half my size. Here’s that glowing photo of me.
I guess nature isn’t all bad. I saw some wildflowers and splashed in the water some, and made a mental list of all the things I will want to take with me next time I decide to amble up the side of a mountain (below for reference).
I’m a pretty indoorsy person, but I would give the experience 4 out of 5 stars (missing 1 star because it was a crowded trail and I kept standing off to the side to let people get ahead of me far enough that I could feel alone again). I liked a lot of things about it. I liked saying hi to people on the trail. I liked their dogs. I felt like people on the trail are nicer than people at church because they’re nice, and not because they’re at church and Jesus wants people to be nice when they’re at church. I liked the dogs. I already said that. I just really like dogs. I liked that I felt more like me, like my life was free of judgment and guilt, and I was just out on a mountain with other people who like mountains and dogs and not feeling guilty. I liked that towards the bottom, someone was playing music, and I sang on the trail and stopped for a few seconds to have a solo dance party. And when the person playing the music walked past me, he said, “I like your moves!” and I said thanks and again, I was reminded of something I like about me. Something that got lost during my years devoted to a religion. I like to dance and sing on mountains, I guess. And also if something seems like it might be fun, I’m going to try it. My life has been tremendously blessed since I started trying things that I thought would be fun again.
It was a good worship day for me. When I made it back down to the bottom (someone please explain to me how it’s possible for that hike to be uphill both ways), I looked up into the sky and told the universe what a good job I think it has done, and I looked around to make sure no one could see me, and I gave the world two thumbs up. Because it’s just that cool. And another gratuitous photo of me, just because I was hot, sweaty, and I felt kind of adorable in an “I just kicked a mountain’s ass” kind of way:
Now for next time:
Journal. I used to be so good at keeping a journal. And it felt like a sin against nature to take notes on my phone about what I wanted to remember and what I was thinking about while I was hiking. (Although gratuitous selfies and photos of every wildflower I saw seemed like a good idea.) Another thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m still a writer deep down in my heart and I experienced some heartache not being able to write anything down.
Better shoes. The trail was categorized as easy on the National Parks site, so I didn’t worry too much about shoes. I think at the very least I’ll tie my shoes for the ascent and descent too. 🙂 It didn’t occur to me to tie my shoes until I got to the top. Ha.
Good eyesight. Glasses make my face sweaty and collect sweat from my head right on the bridge of my nose. Remind me next time I hike up a mountain to bring with me the ability to see perfectly without corrective lenses.
More water. I had 2 water bottles that I pulled right out of the freezer before I left. I thought it would probably be hot enough that the ice would melt by the time I got to the top, and while the 2 tablespoons of melted water that I had at the top were refreshing, it didn’t quite cut it. I got dizzy a couple times and had to sit on the way back, but I didn’t die, didn’t faint, and only turned red enough for 3 people to stop and ask me if I was doing okay. Nice genes, parents!
I've been through the desert on a blog with no name.