Hanging Lake was one of the places way up at the top on my list of things to do this summer in Colorado. To be honest, I didn’t really know anything about the hike to get to there, I just knew at the end was Hanging Lake and that’s what I wanted to see. The hike was just around two miles of a rocky, uphill (or up-mountain) hike with loads of switchbacks and a straight up incline at the very top. It was probably one of my most favorite hikes that I’ve ever done.
Don’t confuse me with a real hiker, I haven’t even done a 14er yet (gasp!). But I’ve always enjoyed a good hike. I like walking, and if I get a little workout in too, all the better. Although this hike was a little more intense than a just a little walk. And I even carried our backpack this time! Okay, I carried the backpack because my husband was carrying our child…
I loved that the Hanging Lake Trail isn’t overly crowded, thanks to the limited parking lot. S0 there were many parts of the trail when it was just my little crew. For the most part, I hiked in-front of my boys, which kept my view nothing but nature; and were the views ever spectacular. I think that’s why I loved this hike so much. Beauty and walking produces clarity. There was a running stream that you hiked beside and around the whole way to the top, and with the mountains all around, the running water, the rugged rocks – it was very easy to breath it all in and embrace being completely surrounded and engulfed by nature.
Around Christmas I read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, and while the book itself wasn’t life-changing or inspiring for me, it was interesting. Interesting because my husband has always talked about the benefits of a good “walk” and I could see that too in her writing. As she walks herself through this beautiful trail, she takes you on the journey that literally “walks herself back to life.” On my little hike, I connected with that. I didn’t need to be brought back to life; I didn’t lose my mother and make loads of super bad choices. But the entire topic of babies was heavy on my heart, and that hike gave it and my heart a little breathing room. There is something to be said for walking through and being in nature. I can see why some people, the real hikers, say it can be a spiritual experience.
On our little hike, in those moments when it was just my family and nature, that’s how it felt. Spiritual. Encouraging. Clarifying. It was just a little hike with my little crew, but I walked away energized and encouraged. I know working out gives you endorphins, and I’ll take them! But there was something a little more than just endorphins coming back down the mountain. I know I don’t get the same feelings and thoughts after working out at the gym, as much as I do love our gym. I think, hiking, walking through nature and being surrounded by beauty, if you let it, is one more way to connect to the One who created it all. And when you connect, when you breath in those moments and let your worries and fear and frustrations just melts away, that makes for a good hike.
Somehow, despite all the jostling and downhill climbing, Ajax managed to fall sound asleep. It must of been tough riding all the way up the mountain…
Have you ever walked away from an experience in nature feeling encouraged or connected?