I mostly write about my love of the mountains, of pushing myself, of being out there...but sometimes the need to write about other forms of love is compelling. Today, I have a love story to tell that doesn't merely involve mountains.
In the summer of 2013 I walked, from Mexico to Canada, in two months. I walked every day without fail, over high passes and through deep valleys. I carried a pack that scarred my shoulders and wore enormous sores on my back. I was in pain often and hungry constantly.
I walked in constant amazement of my body's ability to overcome and persevere. I was in awe of the terrain and the beauty surrounding me. I slept only a few hours a night and the rest of the time I was moving forward.
The ups and downs were physical, literal, and emotional. Daily I had to block out the rational part of my brain that asked why I was even doing this. Why I wasn't quitting.
Whenever I felt at my lowest, my weakest, my absolute breaking point I would think of a man who loved me. I would remember that he was at the other end of that trail waiting for me. I would remind myself that of all the people I knew, he had the firmest faith that I could actually do what I had set out to do. That he believed in me more than I believed in myself.
I would remind myself that every step I took, brought me closer to him.
And then, I would suck it up, stop crying, and walk.
There are songs and stories and poems and legends of the things people would do to be with their lover. There are vows made to climb mountains, swim oceans, walk hundreds of miles. Unlike the authors of these over-romanticized tales I can tell you that I have, in fact, actually done so.
While I intended my trek to be a challenge and a solitary endeavor comprised of pitting me vs. miles and terrain, it unintentionally became a quest to reunite with love as well.
When I think back on those miles, hardships, and loneliness I see not only a woman proving her own strength to herself, but I also see a heart's odyssey of longing.
Moreover, I see the power that love provides.