On Sunday I went on a group hike with a bunch of ladies from Women Who Hike. I had never met anyone in the group until I showed up at Mt. Rainier National Park that morning. This made for some nervous butterflies in my stomach leading up to the event, for sure. But I knew for some reason that the experience of hiking with a group of women that I had never met would be important and impactful. So, after spending the night in a cabin outside the park, Adam and I parted ways and I joined the WWH ladies for an afternoon of snowshoeing.
I found my people here in the Pacific Northwest.
During the next several hours I had the opportunity to hear the stories of people who get it.
They get me.
These women understand the power of getting outside. They have experienced true happiness. Not the kind of fleeting excitement that you get from buying a new jacket or getting lots of likes on your Instagram photo. The kind that you experience when you are living 100% in the moment and are not burdened by concerns of past events or future ideas. The feeling of complete freedom as you hover over the snow, skiing down a mountain that you just hiked for hours to summit. The feeling of looking up at a tree that is older than any living thing you have ever seen. The feeling of starting a hike a with strangers and ending it with friends.
We spent the afternoon laughing, sharing stories, learning, and playing in the snow. The mood on this hike was pure magic. Free from distractions of our normal environments, we could all just connect over our shared love for the outdoors. We talked about some of the worst things that have happened to us-hiking or otherwise-and how we got through them. We talked about how much getting outside has changed our lives and given us a source of peace AND adventure. Between conversations I ran around trying to capture these moments with my camera. They didn't think I was crazy...or weird. They just accepted me.
It is always interesting throwing oneself into a situation that is unfamiliar. Meeting new people can be fun, yet intimidating. Even though I was nervous about meeting new people, I felt drawn to the experience and so I went. I realize now that I was drawn there because I have been wanting women in my life that I can go on adventures with. I wanted friends here in Seattle that understand that there is more fun to be had outside of cell phone service than in the city. I wanted to find women who are setting goals and accomplishing them and want each other to do the same.
I am even more motivated now to continue “maximizing” my comfort zone by pushing my limits. Facing my fears. Doing what I think might make me uncomfortable. Now I even have a group of badass women to join me in my adventures.
Check out womenwhohike.com if you want to become a member and find a group in your area.