Ever feel like life is spinning out of control? Yeah me too, I think we’re all there at some point. So how do you overcome the stress, the worry, the anxiety of everyday life or unexpected events? For me, it’s hiking. On a scale of 1 to 10 on the stress meter, I’m at an 11. Thankfully, Jimmy has been more than supportive and encouraging. One thing we both love is hiking, and he has encouraged me to go for a hike every morning this week – which to be honest has been wonderful! You know, because exercise and sunshine are supposed to lift your mood, right?
Luckily, we live only a few miles away from some great trailheads in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. My favorite hike recently has been Lost Dog Wash trail. It is a 10 minute drive from our house and after being on the trail for just half a mile you feel like you are a world away. Which quite frankly, is just what I need to unwind.
Within a few minutes I am at ease as my shoes crunch along the gravel and rocks, with the gentle sound of insects clicking along the way. Yeah you read that right, clicking not chirping, because these aren’t your average grasshoppers. After all, we’re in the desert! These guys are hard to spot due to their camouflage, but you can certainly hear them along the trail.
As I carried along the path my stress seemed to melt away, or maybe I was just melting. It might be September, but it was still a cool 95 around 10:30 this morning. This trail is easy, flat for the most part and enjoyed by hikers and mountain bikers of all ages. Yesterday I saw a grandmother hiking with her three granddaughters – it made my heart smile. But for the most part you will only pass a couple people, which is why I adore it.
While I may hike the same trail every day, I love that within 24 hours it can change or I may see something I never noticed. Today there was a rare sight on the trail: A PUDDLE! Gasp, it even smelled faintly of mud. I’m from Ohio and while the smell of mud isn’t a novelty, it certainly is unexpected in a climate that is mostly arid and dry.
I really appreciated the opportunity to just stop and enjoy my surroundings. Like this spot along the trail where I feel like I am in a Dr. Seuss story, surrounded by whimsical trees. Okay okay, they aren’t trees they are cacti – Teddy Bear Cholla to be exact. The name is adorable and they are my favorite!
The trail system is well connected, so you can limit yourself to a small loop, or push yourself a bit more to reach the next juncture. Today I decided to explore an extra mile past the lookout where I normally stop. I’m not trying to fool anyone, this is a relatively flat trail in Scottsdale, but I can’t help but feel like a bit of an explorer as I move along the path with new perspectives, plants, and wildlife to observe.
Sure, sometimes along the way I’m reminded about the stress that comes with life. The ants clearly have a plan and purpose, what the hell am I doing?
But this time is for me. For just an hour to be present and regain focus for the remainder of the day. As I head back toward the trailhead, I feel energized. I made it up the trail and back down the trail, just as I will make it over this little roadblock in life. I know how cliche that sounds, but it’s true.
Maybe it’s being outdoors, maybe it’s being active, or the feeling of getting away for just a short while. Whatever it is, hiking is very therapeutic to me. In fact, some of my favorite memories with Jimmy have been our hikes together (pictured below).
A friendly reminder to our readers, if you’re feeling stressed, GO TAKE A HIKE. Or bike. Or fish. Or cook… whatever is your thing. Do something to awaken your mind and body so that you can refocus and address whatever issues lie ahead.
The Birks of Aberfeldy, Scotland