When the news of my mother’s passing came to me all too early on a Sunday morning, my mind was racing, and though it wasn’t entirely unexpected, it was a shock nonetheless. I was at first numb, followed by an overwhelming sense of helplessness. If you’ve ever suffered a loss, I’m sure you can relate.
I then did what I’ve done for the last 20-plus years when life has dealt a blow… I put the dogs in the truck, drove myself to the nearest trailhead, and I ran… and I kept running until I found a quiet spot to sit, catch my breath and reflect. Just myself and the dogs, alone with my thoughts, memories and pent-up emotions, soon to be released.
Sometimes it’s a mountain bike ride or a hike, but when I need to escape, clear my head and navigate life’s many challenges, trails and the great outdoors are my go-to. That combination, along with a furry four-legged friend or two, are, in my mind, the absolute best medicine for the soul. And you don’t even need a prescription.
Over the holiday weekend, my personal journey of grieving continued. I would spend more time out on the trails, crossing paths with old friends and entire families, enjoying “the backup plan” sans snow. And everyone I came across was just happy to be outside, spending time together… something that wasn’t possible a year ago. It really helped to boost my spirits and drove home how fortunate we are to live here and have this amazing resource in our back yards.
I’ve always thought that trails were a great metaphor for life. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, smooth sections and bumpy ones, and you don’t always know what lies around the next bend- that’s where the adventure lies. And as with life, it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
I ended my difficult weekend joined by some good friends on a mountain bike ride that climbed several hundred feet to a new favorite spot with some of the best views in the valley. When we reached the top, I pulled a couple of beers out of my pack and we toasted to my mom and a life well-lived.
What would we do without trails? I honestly can’t imagine a world without them.
Here’s to a long and beautiful journey…
Rick, Field Manager