Learning to be Kind to Myself

I have had the injections in my feet again, and I came down with a cold in a few days afterward. I had a weekend of rest built into my schedule, but when I got sick, I had to take even more days off. I tend to get sever bronchitis when I get a cold and don’t take care of myself and I really want the injections to work, so I have been going slowly with everything. The thing is I hate going back to my slothful ways. I want to be active, and I want to be out hiking.

This week has been about staying off my feet when I can and resting when my body demands it (quite often). I have used the time reading blogs and watching videos about time management, health, and mindfulness. This has helped me take the time for enriching my mind while giving my body time to heal that I usually avoid. It has not been easy to change my actions, but I have gleaned some new knowledge. Along the way, I have learned that I really do need the rest time. While I am at the computer, I realize that I am leaning on the desk more heavily or that I am eating when I am not hungry. These are great signs to go take a little nap or a hot bath. By making these caring choices, the cold did not worsen and is shorter than usual.

In addition to this, I have been making sure that I am drinking more liquids and that I am drinking more healing liquids. I usually stick to water – it is nature’s gold. But I get to points in the day where I don’t want to drink water and either don’t drink (I eat instead) or drink sugary substances. With wanting to heal, I opted for lemon ginger honey tea that I brewed myself. It was quite tasty.  I loved the tart sweetness of the lemon and honey together, but I really enjoyed the tangy bite of the fresh ginger. This is a tea I am going to brew more often. It is good for so many things, and it helps me be more willing to drink my fluids.

I have learned that through being kind to myself I am happier doing the things that I usually want to put off. It is not easy taking a break or to rearrange my schedule to allow for healing, but it is worth it. I will have to practice this mindfulness mindset, but it will get easier as time goes on.

I need to pee. Now.

Out on the trail today, I was seized by nature. Not the beauty of the trail or the ugliness of the garbage, but that of a more personal nature.

I’m older and have had two children. (I think you may see where I’m going.) My bladder isn’t what it used to be. Often when hiking, I have to find a place to pee.  But, I have been put on a diuretic, and at times, the urgency is great. It can stop me and force me to search for a place to relieve myself.

Today, though, I was on a hike in a very busy area with only low brush and below hip height rocks. I was following a trail on a point with roads coming to a fork surrounding it. They are fairly busy roads, and I needed to pee. Now. I kept walking hoping I could make it to my car and the nearest store. But as I hiked, I was thinking about it, and the urgency increased to the point where I knew I had to find a solution immediately or be hiking in wet pants. I thought that maybe I should be carrying my GoGirl, but I have to drop my pants with it too.  I had to stop walking for a moment to let a spasm pass, but I did spy a rock wide and tall enough to hide the fact that I was dropping my drawers.

This incident made me wonder what other women do in this situation. Do you have a trick? I thought about wearing a pee pad but on longer hikes, they chafe. So what is a better solution? I am going to petition for the county to put a port-a-potty at this particular trailhead, but that is not necessarily the help needed. Today, I was too far from the trailhead to have made it.

Southbound into the Colombian Gorge

The third day of our southbound trip dawns early. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep because the wind blowing bits of the trees onto my tent sounded like rain. At first I kept waiting it to soak my shirt that I put over my tent netting instead of the rain fly. I finally changed that out but still kept listening to the foreign noises. So in the early dawn, I crawled out of bed, donned my shoes, and went to gather our food.  The foliage around the trail was really dense, so we stowed the food right along the trial north of our camping spot. We tucked it under a log into a dense bush.

Back at the tents, I realized how close we were to the trail and how dense the brush was. I danced around trying to find a place to go potty that was far from the trail. There was no place up or down the trail to get off and pick my way through the brush. But behind our tents there was a hill with thin undergrowth.  I climb up there only to find that the trail wraps around the hill in both directions.  Unfortunately, it is the only place to go, and I can tell that others thought that as well by all the toilet paper strewn about.

Relieved, I dig out my hand sanitizer and my contact stuff. I have been wondering around in my glasses, but don’t want to hike that way because I don’t see well with them.  With my morning ablutions done, I start pacing waiting for the other two to get up so we can eat and go. On the trail we all get up early, so I don’t have to wait long. I am picky about my breakfast choice since it didn’t sit well the day before. A partial packet of peanut butter crackers seem like a good idea chased by a good amount of water to help hydrate me early.

We eat and pack up heading out in short order. Because we get moving so quickly, we forget to stretch. It isn’t until we are down the road a while that we realize stretching would have been a good idea. We decide to rest and take off our packs every couple of miles to let our bodies function better.

Two miles into the morning, we discover a bigger camp location with water. We discuss, as we pass by, how that would have been nicer than the one we stopped at.  But, we also admit that we were too tired to have kept hiking at the point when we stopped.

We continue on hiking half the remaining distance without once coming across people. But as we near a lake, we start to hear people and children talking and having a great time. This burst of gaiety lifts our moods and seems to lighten my feet.  We cruse around the lake not really seeing a place to get close to water until we are almost around it. At that point, we yell hello to the two men packing up their gear and continue up the hill. For the next several miles we play leapfrog with these two.  We also come across others out on the trail.

It is a gloomy day, but we feel happy and positive. After cresting a ridge and seeing the gorge again, we laugh and stop to have a brief snack and enjoy some weightless time. The clouds become darker and the sky opens up a light rain. We start to pull on our packs when I realize that this is the first trip where I am not carrying my rain cover for my pack as well as the first time we are backpacking in the rain. I’m not concerned; we are on the last leg of our trip. It doesn’t matter if things get wet. About that time, I think of the gortex jacket I have had wrapped around my waist for the last two days. Slipping it off, I put it over my backpack tucking the hood over the top and the sleeves around my shoulder straps. It feels secure. Now I have a use for the jacket.

We hear the highway long before we see it. At every rise or turn, we wonder if we are going to see the highway. But we keep climbing and descending and taking curves, but we cannot see the road. The foot traffic is increasing, so we know that we are close to a trailhead. And we continue. This was a ten mile hike to be culminated after we cross the Bridge of the Gods and enter the restaurant overlooking the river. We all speed up as we move along. The end is near and calling to us. We take a turn and it seems we are in someone’s back yard. But the trail skirts the fence, and finally, we arrive at the highway.

The trail follows the highway on the bank, so we are at least ten feet above the traffic for a while. It keeps us separate, and I like that.  When the trail descends to the same level as the road we are within sight of the bridge. We know we are going to have to cross and enter the bridge soon. My trekking poles, hat, and anything else that might be blown into the river are stowed. We begin to watch the traffic to see when we can cross. At a small gap the other two race across the road. But it is wet, I am carrying 35 pounds, and I have a bum knee.  I am not running on a highway. I wait. I finally get a good gap and hustle across.

We are at the entrance to the bridge in awe. Last year we were on the other side and only walked across half of it. This time we need to walk clear across. There is more traffic coming our way this time, and it is wet.  After taking pictures of the bridge and a few selfies with the bridge behind us, we enter. The bridge is made of grating and cement. We can see through the road. It is a bit nerve wracking to be able to see down to the river watching it move across our vision. The metal is slippery; I grab hold of the railing not wanting to let go just as a car rushes past. I feel like I am being pushed around, and it feels like the cars

are barely brushing our sides. But it is exciting to be crossing after several years of dreaming of it.

At the other side, I feel full of energy and excitement. There are few vendors, but we look to see if our trail angel from the previous year is there. She is not, but there is one with cherries. We buy a bag making it our new tradition. When we stop at the Bridge of the Gods, we must get sweet cherries and have lunch at the restaurant. After three days chasing a trail, I am finally hungry. I am craving vegetables again until I smell the grease.

Our ride is there and we join the line to order our food. The others get sandwiches and beer. I get my salad and onion rings. It might be an unlikely combination, but it fits my needs. I have to have my vegetables after several days without and the grease smells and tastes divine.

We might not have hiked the planned 30 miles, but we hiked a good hike and have great memories. Here’s to another.

Great Plans

Great plans seem to fall through at times. I have a good intention to exercise and write daily, and I even got a good start on it by doing the 100 day challenge. It seems, though, that without the challenge, my plans fall through.

I have exercised more than three times during the last nine days and most of it hiking, but when it gets dark our and I have been stuck inside working, I let the exercise slip. The same goes for writing, if I don’t get an early start on my writing, I can be side tracked by the computer.

With all this said, I have written or exercised every day except yesterday when I did neither.

I am going to change that. I am going to be strong and exercise and write regularly. I need both in my life. Writing is entertaining, enlightening, and fulfilling. Exercising energizes me, helps my blood pressure and sugar, relieves stress, and helps me be fit. It also is how I am going to finish the Tahoe Rim Trail this year. If I don’t do these things daily, I won’t be able to meet a goal again. I don’t like that feeling. I really must keep after meeting the daily goals to reach the big ones.