I #hikeOctober because I can! In 1997 I was in a bad car accident and was told I would never walk again… it brought on a lot of depression and the fact that I was raised in a very abusive and dysfunctional household made it even worse. Until I hiked the John Muir trail in ’07, I didn’t have much confidence in myself as a person much of it from my upbringing. I found that hiking sometimes alone for many hours not only helped me spiritually but with my self confidence as well. It gave me much time to reflect on my life and where I was going and what I wanted to make of myself.
I later hiked the PCT in 09 and 10, which helped me even more. It helped me not care anymore what people thought of me or whether or not they approved. My family sure as hell didn’t! But once I accomplished this they were very proud of me…finally. Not that I was looking for acceptance from them but it made me feel good about myself all the way to the bone.
I now have a crushed knee cap and endure pain from my back and knee constantly, which again sometimes brings on the depression and lack of self worth. But once I am out in nature I am in another realm. Even as I hike I meditate and talk to the trees and the birds and other wildlife and listen to my steps and all my pain goes away, even the hurt from so many years of mental abuse.
Hiking is my drug and the trails are my dealer. Whenever I am in a bad place in my head, I go hike. sometimes its only a few miles and when times are really bad I spend the nites under the stars far away from anything that will effect my frame of mind. The wilderness is my church, my happy place and refuge. I dont have to wait for an appointment or go only during business hours. The only person I have to confess to is myself and I cry hard and its ok.I Let it come pouring out and I feel sooo much better!
If you have a disability that you think will keep you from hiking just stop that right now! Doctors are even saying that hiking is good for mental health now! You will never regret it and you will become a new person, even if it’s not more than a few miles.
This article is part of our #hikeOctober campaign to shed light on the stigma of mental illness and to promote the benefits of hiking. 100% of the funds raised from this campaign will be dedicated to alleviating the suffering of mental illness and to wilderness trail conservancy. If you would like to learn more or add you voice to our I #hikeOctober… series, please contact us.