I had the best day ever last Friday while my poor dogs had the worst day ever. It was finally time to be a responsible dog owner and get them neutered with some of my summer student loan money. I had to drop them off at the Foothills Vet Clinic in Cardston at 8 a.m. and couldn’t get them until 3 p.m. so I packed a ton of stuff to enjoy an active day in Waterton.
I started off with my scheduled long run one day early. I figured it would be smart to run on the hilly Kootenai Brown trail that runs from the townsite to the park gates. It’s about 5 miles each way and I had a 9 mile run scheduled; perfect! You can read how tough a run it was HERE. Running in the Waterton wind is NOT fun!
After my run, I ate lunch on the shores of Emerald Bay and headed for the Bertha Trailhead.
The weather was so gorgeous that I hiked in my tank top! YEAH!!! It was the best feeling!
The hike was extra great because all the spring run off caused these little streams to pop up all over. That’s what’s so great about hiking, You can hike the same trail over and over, but it’s always a little different based on the season.
I packed along my yoga mat in my backpack and figured I would hike to Bertha Bay for a private outdoor practise. As I started going down on the trail toward the Bay I realized I would NOT enjoy hiking all the way back up on my sore legs.
So I decided I would just go to the falls and set up somewhere along the river.
Right before the falls I came upon the trail completely covered in snow. That’s not typical, but I quickly realized when looking at all the pine needles in it and the broken trees that there had been an avalanche this winter and it was taking longer to melt away.
As I got closer to the falls, there was way more snow (too much for yoga) and the river was rushing very full. The trail headed up to Bertha Lake was still snow covered, which I figured it would be, but the temperature definitely dropped at this point.
Like many busy women, I am a stressed out person. I try to manage 100 things at once and being a perfectionist is brutal. Yoga helps a lot and people are always telling me to try meditation but meditation just irritates me. I can’t sit still, never could and probably never will.
On this hike I felt more at peace and my mind was only focused on my surroundings, it was the closest I’ll ever get to meditation. I reflected on this as I slowly walked along. I listened to the birds, the squirrels, the wind, and the trickling water from all the spring runoff and I felt so at peace and relaxed. I reached out and touched the branches as I walked by and felt the warmth of the sun on my skin.
I reflected on how this was my therapy, my form of meditation. That I need to move my body and get in tune with natural surroundings in order to quiet my busy mind. Nothing makes your problems seem smaller that walking by giant mountains that tower over you, it’s awe inspiring actually. Photos can’t really capture the feeling you get when you realize that your presence is a very small blip on the landscape around you.
Usually, I hike with a buddy (or my dogs) and we chat and laugh. But being myself and being silent really did something different. It helps you to not be distracted and to focus on the sights, smells, and sounds around you.
Some people don’t want to hike alone because they’re afraid. I have done many hikes on my own with nothing more than bear spray and I’ve always been fine. If you’re still nervous about going solo, you can check out a tactical pen for self defense.
If you’re coping with stress and anxiety and can’t quiet your mind and sit still, try getting out on a hike BY YOURSELF and just listen. Moving meditation- it’s awesome!