One boot in front of the other…

Some say backpacking is magical, and I’m one of those people. Backpacking for my husband has been his life’s passion, but I only expressed an interest five years ago when I was fifty-six. To this day, my interest in slipping a pack on my back and hitting the trail has not waned. Trees flanking the trails, butterflies floating from bloom to bloom, dragonflies buzzing above the shimmering water, the breeze bringing relief like a refreshing swim in the lake, and the morning light stretching over the horizon remind us that another glorious day has arrived – they’re all magic.

It is humble to carry essentials on my back. I’m not like Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in three months. I don’t own that level of bandwidth to wear the boots of a thru-hiker, whether on the PCT or on the Appalachian Trail. Nor do I have the desire to attempt a 60-mile trip like my husband has completed on several occasions. I’m a middle-aged woman who possesses a yearning to challenge myself in body, mind, and soul – to step out of my comfort zone and seek adventures to be experienced, even though I need to shed a few pounds.

I get tired at times my legs begin to tremble. I have literally met exhaustion face to face on a few of our hikes. And when I get hot, my face turns pomegranate red, a little embarrassing when greeting other hikers. Sweat trickles and forms in patches on my body that, yes, I’ll refrain from naming. And unfortunately, no shower stands behind the tent waiting to be utilized. And yet, I am pulled into the magic…

I’ve known several friends who didn’t get the chance to celebrate their fiftieth birthday. We all know tomorrow is not guaranteed. I always try to live my life to its fullest, but now even more so as I grow older. Maybe because I’m inching my way closer to the top of the ladder! So, I choose to explore this type of adventure that never appealed to me when I was younger. To live my life in the richest way possible.

I’m not a solo backpacker, but I admire those who are, especially women portraying strength, perseverance, and determination by setting out on their own. I find comfort in the security of going with my husband, knowing he holds the experience and knowledge of the trail. I do help pitch the tent and set up and clean up camp, so I don’t just sit around sipping wine while he does all the work. We make a good team. He’s also the one who calms me in the middle of the night when the snap of a twig causes my eyes to fly open. What was that? A bear? A human? The imagination can truly run wild! But I acknowledge this trait and try to allow his calm composure to flow into me.

As to my body, there are moments when my knees twinge or my hips groan from sleeping on nothing but a pad separating me from the ground! And the sleeping bag manages to twist me up at times, too. All magic. Every lens to the surrounding beauty, every chirp or snap, even each little ache or unexpected precipitation literally raining on our parade falls into the package of a life-changing alchemy. The welcome peace from the hustle and bustle of daily routines. The whispers of wind through the trees attempting to touch the vast sky. The breeze ruffling my bangs looking a bit wonky after taking off my hat. Getting outdoors, inhaling the fresh air, time to reflect. As I said before…magic for the mind, body, and soul.

So, given our bodies remain capable, my husband and I will continue on the backpacking trail one boot in front of the other, relishing the magic of it all.

Lauren Scott (c) ❤️

58 thoughts on “One boot in front of the other…

  1. Good for you. Have you thought of doing the Camino de Santiago in Spain? I know a few people who have done it and loved it. I’m not a backpacker but admire those who do it.

    1. Thanks, Darlene! I’ve heard of the Camino de Santiago and have always thought it would be wonderful to experience. Hopefully, someday! As to backpacking, I wish I had started earlier, and I still admire any hiker on the trail for more than a week. 🙂

  2. Your post reminded me that I haven’t been hiking for a while and I miss it. A 40-year-old daughter of a friend is currently through hiking the PCT solo and I am in awe of her mental and emotional strength. I may not spend the night on the trail, but I need to get out in the wilderness again soon. Great post.

    1. Thanks for your comment and kind words, Janis. I have a feeling you’ll get on the trail soon again and I’m happy to inspire, along with your friend’s daughter who is on the PCT. I admire her! Just like when Cheryl Strayed’s book came out, I was utterly fascinated. My only minor regret is not starting sooner when my body and mind were younger, but I’ll enjoy as long as they both allow. Thanks again and Happy hiking!

  3. Lauren, your pictures and beautiful story draws me in and I also long for the
    wild again. Your husband and you really do sound like a wonderful team.
    Happy hiking. 😊.

    Miriam

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Miriam. I know you’re a devoted admirer of nature and the great outdoors from your beatuiful poetry, so I’m glad you enjoyed this post. And thanks for what you wrote about my husband and I. We work well together, on and off the trail. 🙂 I hope you’re able to visit the wilderness soon. 💗

  4. HI Lauren, I have only done day hikes and always spend the night in a lodge. This is largely because of the high crime levels in South Africa, so I would feel to exposed camping. My sister camps with her husband and sons but they stay in secure sites overnight. It is wonderful that you are enjoying hiking and camping with your husband.

    1. Hi Robbie, thanks for your comment. Day hikes are great, too, and nights in a lodge are fun (and more comfortable). 🙂 I understand the safety reasoning. I’m glad my husband has the calm demeanor because there have been moments when fear has crept in. It’s just the mystery of the vast wilderness around us, especially when the sun sets and we can’t see past each other. I have to press the stop button on my mind and its wild imagination sometimes. Otherwise, it’s all magical. 💕

    1. I’m not very fit at all, but I’m able to do it (although not without huffing and puffing at times). We’re working on getting in better shape for another trip next month and in September. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Bonnie!

  5. Hiking through bushlands and jungles is a pleasure everyone should experience in their lifetime. Unfortunately most city dwellers miss out on that. Much harder to do at my age so make the most of it while you can. 🙂

    1. I can just imagine the adventure, Ian, but the thought of hiking in jungles has my knees shaking. 🙂 I imagine snakes and big spiders, unless there aren’t any in the jungles. 🙂 Thanks for your comment and we will continue for as long as we’re able.

    1. Thanks so much, Michele, for your lovely comment. I say, Kudos to Cheryl Strayed and all the other backpackers who go that extra mile (or many miles), and to all of us who enjoy time in nature in whatever way works best for us. 💞😁

    1. Thanks for your beautiful comment, Lisa, and I’m so happy you enjoyed the magic in this post and the photos. 🙂 I’m also happy to bring smiles. I only wish I had started this adventure earlier in life, so many trails and adventures missed. But there will be more in the future for as long as we can. 💗🏕

    1. Thanks, Debby. Sometimes I’m still surprised at myself for venturing out into the wild like we have. But I’m glad for the wonderful experiences, even the sweat and aches! 🙂 And like you said, enjoy while we can. 💕

    1. Haha, Marina! There have been a few of “What was that?” and I just have to shift my mind. Silly, but real, and I’m glad you understand. 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend. Love and hugs flowing back to you! ❤️⛺️❤️⛺️❤️⛺️🥰

  6. Hats off to you, Lauren for extending yourself and being a “good sport” as the saying goes. If we don’t try new things, especially in midlife, then we don’t know what things we might enjoy or are capable of doing. Personally, though I love the outdoors, I prefer short hikes and climbs and glamping. Each to her own!

    1. Thanks so much, Evelyn, for your wonderful comment, and so true about trying new things. It’s great that you hike and climb, and honestly, glamping is on my bucket list. 🙂 We all have to do what makes us happy. 💕

  7. The way you are sharing it sounds magic Lauren!
    Good for you to enjoy life and these moments with your husband. You make me want to start packing and keep going! But nature can be so scary at times…
    Much love your way ❤️❤️

    1. Thanks so much, Marie, for your lovely words and I’m so glad you found my words to be magical. Nature can be scary, which is why I like going with my husband. I can’t imagine pitching a tent off the trail and sleeping alone throughout the night. I’m sure every little crunch and snap would paralyze me with fear. 🙂 That’s why I truly admire those who can do this. Much love your way, also. Hugs 💗💗

  8. How wonderful, Lauren. My face also turns beet red when I’m hot, which compels other hikers to ask me if I’m okay. Lol. I could relate to so many of your wonderful experiences. My backpacking days are sadly over, but I’m finding the same kind of joy in my day hiking adventures. There’s no end to the beauty out there. Thanks for starting my day with a smile. ❤

    1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts, Diana, and I’m glad you can relate to some of my experiences. Not that I’m happy your face turns beet red, though! At least you’re able to get on the trail during the day because like you said, there is no end to the beauty out there! We’re going again next month and in September, as long as fires don’t intercept our plans. Fingers crossed. I’m happy to bring smiles. Have a wonderful day and Happy Hiking! 🥰❤️

      1. I haven’t been backpacking in 11 years but we have a trip planned in September. Your post reminded me how much I love being out there. I never go for very long as my body doesn’t seem to allow it but any amount of time feels good! Thanks for the reminder of why I like doing it so much! Amy

      2. I’m glad I inspired you, Amy. Thanks for your wonderful words, and there’s no rules for getting out there. We do what works for us. Have a great time in Sept. 💞

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