Essentially all the time I work at a desk, I am walking or hiking in nature in my mind.
But yesterday I actually did so for real.
During a Pacific Northwest storm Strongest September Storm on Record Strikes WA and OR, I walked 20 miles!
I had intended to go 25 miles to Greenbank, but decided it became unsafe to continue when 40 mph gusts side-swiped me ever closer to oncoming traffic. Also my feet felt like painful lumps of lead. The combination caused my risk-taking brain to say “iffy.” So I called my ride home (thanks Mom! and roommate who offered!).
What I learned:
1) When you have a few blisters the size of Texas on one foot and a chain of smaller ones – the Bahamas – on the other foot, and you continue to walk 12 more miles, you have an out of body experience.
2) It is brilliant when what you asked for comes true. The night before my training walk after a full day of heavy rain and wind, I envisioned all the children I personally knew who passed of their cancers during the year my daughter and I “lived” at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I imagined each one being a differently colored balloon and me holding strings attached to those balloons to carry along on my walk. I asked them if there was any way they could “pull any strings” for me, could I be spared the worst of the weather? And voila! Seven of my 8 hours en route (stopping 45 minutes for a break to care for blisters) were dry-ish and less windy than expected. Not sure if the kids had anything to do with it, or serendipitously planning months earlier to walk during hours which became a “lull” between severe storm waves, but whatever is responsible – gratitude!
3) The WiFire Coffee Bar makes a great mid-walk stop! The two baristas on staff were encouraging and friendly despite my likely haggard look when they asked “How are you?” after walking 13 miles. (Plus the bathrooms are spotless and you don’t know how much you appreciate spotless bathrooms until you do an endurance event).
4) Horses are telepathic. Though I am severely allergic, as I passed a field with 2 horses far from me facing away from me, I said to myself “beautiful beings” over and over. As I neared the edge of their fence, they both walked directly over to me, snorted and stared as I said “Hello.”
5) Squirrels should be in a circus. So many were scampering across utility lines above my head, I thought they must be in on some trapeze training!
6) There are some serious dream homes on my island I had never seen when driving. Whoa! If that’s all people knew of Whidbey, no wonder they imagine it is a paradise playground for the wealthy. Yet all the people I know are scraping by inside the paradise. If just a few outside my social range could donate to my cause, maybe I’d meet my goal by November?
7) After my blisters heal, I would like to plan another long walk hopefully with company this time (or possibly music?) if I plan it for a day friends are available, before my Ultimate Hike!