Hiking happiness

There’s been a whole lot of hiking going on. Last month, we had a family trip to Glacier National Park, where we hiked 25+ miles in 4 days. At the beginning of August, I did my first back county camping trip that included hiking my first 10K foot peak. And this past weekend, we had our first Yoga & Hiking retreat of the season.

There’s definitely a hiker’s high that comes from putting some miles on your boots. There are also some lows: pushing through physical challenges and fatigue when you think you can’t take another step, discomfort (particularly having to do with air temperature and your feet), sharing the trail with bugs and bears. I’m not a newbie hiker, but what’s really left an impression recently has been experiencing the heady mix of emotional and physical intensity, the footprint that hiking leaves on one’s soul. I felt it, I watched my 9 year old feel it, and I shared the experience with our retreaters.

On the way up to Hyalite Peak, husband and I ended up where we shouldn’t have been due to a large snow field covering part of the trail. We were doing some serious rock scrabbling, and at one point I thought my daughter and friends below were about to watch me slide down the mountain. In that kind of moment, it is sheer, raw determination that gets you through. When we made it to safer ground, the top of the peak was before us. Despite the fear I had just felt, my feet moved forward. I felt tears prick my eyes when I made it to the top. Then I let out a huge yell. My daughter’s favorite song “I’m on top of the world” played in my head. She might have just watched me almost fall down the mountain, but right after that she got to see me make it to the top. That’s me coming down in the picture above. A hiker’s high, indeed.

As I’ve been processing our hiking experiences, I came across this article: Proof that Hiking Makes You Happier and Healthier. Yoga & hiking was one of my first ideas for Big Sky Yoga Retreats, for all of these reasons (just add yoga!). You can still join us for our Yoga & Yellowstone hiking retreat this fall, I’d love to share some Montana hiking happiness with you.