A year ago, I took on a challenge: ten training hikes of continually more intensive distance and mileage in preparation for the last hike.
Number ten, the highest point in the Columbia Gorge and considered the hardest hike in the Gorge, was/is Mount Defiance.
Ten miles round trip and 5000 feet of elevation gain. I made my way through the first nine hikes only to be held back from Defiance by construction at the trail head.
The hiking season ended with me letting go of that dreamy challenge. All but Defiance. ABD.
The 2017 hiking season has begun and I’m thinking to myself, “Will I be defied? Will I even try?”
I’ve hit the trail several times checking in with myself and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
I’m not in as bad shape as I was a year ago.
Even the stress of a car wreck and a couple of trail incidents in the last six months have not held me back.
I’ve had to work hard to heal, to let go. I’ve very intentionally sought help and requested assistance, and I’ve watched out for myself.
I’m different than a year ago.
Last Monday I did a hike I did a year ago. And I finished much better than last time. I’m not a fast hiker, yet I got the job done.
On the trail, I felt the wisdom of my body check in. I could feel the cells of my body remember.
This step followed by this next step. Small steps. My steps.
And I remember a lesson learned last year about not taking big, long steps to try to keep up.
My body remembers and encourages me to find my rhythm, my inner pace, my small steps.
In the tune my feet tap out is me, the one who has the determination to meet Defiance head-on and win.
I may be ABD but, in this moment, I realize that even if I am deterred again, I will meet no failure.
Bring on the training hikes and the wildflower hikes and the Gorge hikes and the city hikes and the hikes anywhere.
I will take them one by one, small step by small step.
And one day the possibility of Defiance will be that day’s series of small steps.
I can’t do anything but succeed … one step at a time.