Solo Mt. Willard adventure day 2/16/20 & being honest with yourself

Hey folks!

Happy Tuesday. I’m currently writing this post from my couch, drinking turmeric tea with vanilla hemp milk + cinnamon + local honey, and looking up every so often watching the snow fall outside.

Sunday was a “solo” frolic day to Mt. Willard. I quoted solo because I was very much not alone, me and my 50 closest friends were hiking that mountain. What do I mean? It’s a popular mountain, a 52 with a view, was a holiday weekend, and currently Massachusetts school vacation week.

I almost hiked a 4000 footer instead. But between my ankle being sore from wearing snowshoes all day on the last three hikes (wanted to pick a hike I KNEW I would not need snowshoes and not push miles), and wanting to hike a mountain that felt like literal home to my core (Willard was the first mountain I hiked as a kid and was my first ever solo hike a few years ago)… Willard it was.

View from the summit

It’s honestly a lovely little mountain, with a stellar view. I felt social Sunday too so I was totally fine with the fact that I literally passed 20+ other hikers on my ascent. My tactic when approaching other hikers or groups of hikers from behind when going faster than them is to enthusiastically say “hello!” which then the typical response I receive is “oh hello” and some other conversation or “fast hiker move out of the way”, to which I giggle. But regardless I’ve found being super enthusiastic is great because 9 times out of 10 the response is enthusiastic in return. After passing I’ll typically then say “happy hiking” or “happy frolicking”, in an equally giddy tone of voice. I wonder if some people think I’ve lost it.

Moody mountains

At this point in my life I am high-key convinced the universe is no longer messing around. There have been way too many “this will never work” scenarios that have worked and synchronicities in the past year or so.

Two Sundays ago, on my solo hike to Mt. Tom, when coming back down the Tom Spur Trail, I met another hiker named Jen. We chatted for a bit and I mentioned the blog to her and that I post my hike reports in the women’s hiking group on Facebook and to contact me through that so we could hike. Fast forward to this past Sunday, Jen and her daughter were hiking Willard and I came up behind with my usual “hello!”, when they turned around we were both jaw-drop shocked. Jen hadn’t seen the Facebook post so we ended up exchanging information on trail yesterday and are going to hike together at some point. Literally though, okay universe, I get it.

I kept on going and was pleasantly surprised when I reached the summit that nobody else was there. Having the summit of Willard to myself after passing so many humans was shocking and I embraced every second of it. There is something truly magical about being by yourself on a mountain summit.

Jen and her daughter were actually the next to summit, and we all chatted up there while taking pictures and enjoying the warm sunshine. I ended up hiking down “with” them, we are about the same speed and would randomly say something to one another. All of us decided after getting back to the start of the hike that we would go check out the Cascade Loop which was just up trail. While the Cascades were frozen and snow covered now, I’m sure they are beautiful in the summer and am mentally noting to make another visit.

I love the hiking community that is out there. It’s part of why I feel so safe out hiking alone, because for the most part the people I meet on trail are genuinely wonderful human beings out enjoying nature and the mountains. The fact that I can just pick up conversation with folks on trail and sometimes that leads to new hiking pals, other times I just learn about someone else’s passion and love for hiking – it’s neat.

I love that over 50% of my current friends I’ve met through hiking and it’s great to be able to share an activity which is such an integral part of my life with friends.

From Willard Summit

This Winter has been an interesting one to summarize it into one adjective. During the moving and initial settling in process I figured I would get settled rather quickly (2-3 months), immerse myself into the community up North, find a new gym (for meathead lifting side), snowboard a bunch, get into cross-country skiing as a winter endurance thing to make the hit of not road biking much until Spring less of a sting plus I want to get into XC (I road biked year round on the seacoast and it’s slightly different up here for this).

I did not settle quickly.
→ Progress not perfection

The immersion has been slow.
→ There’s some progress, but my social butterfly hat has been hidden in the closet 87.4% of the time

Finding my gym home happened TODAY
→ Tried the local CrossFit gym, not my M.O. Unlike the seacoast, there are not many options for gyms. Big news on this one – I went to a different local gym this morning and can happily say I found my gym home. Also happy to report that having not done a single pull up since October (when I moved), I can still do 11 strict ones. Pull up queen 😉 The ego got a slight pat on the back today.

I haven’t snowboarded once.
→ 60% because it’s been a weird snow winter, 40% because I haven’t had much desire to. Maybe this will change, maybe not. I’m content with either.

No skiing.
→ I ordered cross country skis and the order was cancelled by the company SIX WEEKS later due to inventory. Cool beans, no skis for me (this season).

It’s been interesting.
→ I’ve been feeling out of element, a little off kilter.

Lifting today feels like a good step towards “re-kiltering”. While I’ve been doing at home lifting sessions, which I do love, I am personally someone who benefits from the community aspect of a gym. I also really like barbell movements and pull ups and don’t have a barbell or a way to do pull ups at home. Feeling content and excited.

The past few days a concept I’ve been thinking about is how is how crucial it is to be friendly with oneself, and to reflect on current life regularly and honesty. I think this is coming up because I’ve been feeling off kilter. For me, when I find myself feeling off I know I need some solid reflection. The primary question is: is it an out of element feeling that is a sign of growth or an out of element feeling which is a signal/cue that I need to change something.

Right now: it’s both.

It’s both needing to shift a little and the discomfort of growth.

And it’s ok that it’s both.

I’m glad to have the awareness that it’s both.

Aware of the needs not being met. Community & connection is the biggest one.

And so, I focus a little more energy towards shifting. Towards finding ways to not feel as much like a ping-pong ball mentally with high highs and low lows. Transitions are hard and I’m growing my roots again.

“So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.” – Rainbow Rowell

One thought on “Solo Mt. Willard adventure day 2/16/20 & being honest with yourself”

  1. Mmm, your tea concoction sounds bomb, Sarah! I wish we lived by each other because I think I’d have to force you to make it for me and then we could go hike a mountain together 🙂

    So true about the importance of being friendly and honest with yourself. It can be so hard (but SO GOOD) to do it!

    Yay for finding your home gym!

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