I’ve been trying to identify just why hiking hasn’t seemed appealing to me this summer, and I think it all boils down to that thing with depression that makes even the tiniest bump in the road look like an absolutely massive hurdle. We have to pack our gear. Drive to a trailhead. Hope and pray to the mountain gods that we’ll actually be able to find parking, because all the easily accessible trails are so damn crowded these days. Potentially endure a very loud, public tantrum if the young hiker in our crew refuses to ride in the carrier. Risk another injury like last month when that young hiker tripped and faceplanted onto a rock, chipping several teeth and knocking her front tooth loose. So it’s all just a mess of depression-induced anxiety (over minuscule things that must seem completely ridiculous to those who have never experienced this sort of mental state before) that makes me want to just stay home instead, because it would be so much easier.
…Except that I know, I know so well, that I need this. Hiking is a huge part of my identity, and I don’t feel quite like myself without it. So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to just force myself out there. I needed to show myself that hey, traffic and crowds and loud car rides and toddler tantrums happen, and somehow life goes on.
But actually, it was the perfect day in the mountains with my family. Nora amused herself the entire drive by reading books and calling her grandparents on her pretend phone, we pulled into the trailhead with lots of parking spots to spare, Nora was easily coaxed into the carrier with the help of bunny crackers, no one got hurt, and we spent a very, very long lunch break on the little beach by Mirror Lake. We swam, we found excellent sticks and several frogs, we munched on sooo many huckleberries, and Nora was convinced that the peaks above the lake were “man and woman hugging and singing Lava” from her favorite song.
So this was what I spent an entire month avoiding. Harrumph.
Since I have now decided that it is fall (because I’m more than ready to see the ass end of this particular season). this ended up being our only mountain hike this summer. And I’m surprisingly okay with that. I’m sure we’ll get out on some autumn hikes, and I’m also sure that the mountains will still be there next year, when I will hopefully be feeling better and have the mental fortitude to adventure with two tiny humans. Gulp.