New Views in New Hampshire: FREEdom from my Past

SEPTEMBER 18, 2015. The trail section between Lincoln and Glenclif, NH is rich with significant memories! On my 2007 walk, it was in this 30 miles that I leaned in to my heart’s yearning for a partner. I longed for someone to share the physical difficulties of the trail and to celebrate meeting the challenges of traversing the White Mountains.

I enjoyed walking with “Hiker John”, finding his company comforting and fun. As the days went on, and communicating with my husband back at home seemed more and more difficult, I wanted a hug.

Just past the road to Lincoln, as we lay on our mats ready for sleep, I asked him to hold me. I slept deeply that night, my body surrendering to his strength. The next morning, I bounded up the mountain, boldly standing under one of the waterfalls at the base of Moosilauke Mtn. New life and excitement lit me up!

This time, I couldn’t pick out which falls that was! They ALL looked dangerous. I must have been feeling bold then!

This time, I felt the guilt of having betrayed my husband, the shame of having created the illusion that the hiking world and the home world were separate and non-intersecting, with their own realities. Those feelings started gnawing at me as I stepped up each successive pitch on the trail next to the cascade.

“STOP!” cried an inner voice. “You have cleared your life of that obligation to your husband. You admitted your guilt, accepted his judgment, handled an amicable divorce, and rebuilt financial and emotional security. You are FREE of that past! You may now celebrate THIS relationship!”

I reviewed the words of Jane Holmes, my teacher at the Living Foods Institute:

“The past has no power over you!”

I continued my climb, stepping into this new view of Moosilauke Mtn., now my beacon of new possibilities of relating, not out of my past but from my heart and into the future!

In 2007, I walked out of Glenclif alone, afraid to surrender to a budding relationship. Today, I’ll walk out WITH my hiking partner, envisioning our future, free to create OUR partnership.

image

ALL looked dangerous!

New Views in New Hampshire: Backpacker’s Wardrobe

wpid-20150912_103234.jpg

   I’m 350 miles along my way south of Mt. Katahdin and am celebrating a successful choice of clothing! For the first time yesterday morning I wore everything in my clothes bag except my extra socks. That was INSIDE the Lakes of the Clouds hut while we waited for breakfast. Outside, on the trail, I was warm and dry. I thought you might enjoy a peek at my “wardrobe”. A lightweight backpacker’s challenge is to balance weight with need. On this trip  in the northern 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail during August and September, I considered possible cold mornings and evenings, some rain, and cool days. I gambled on my coldest, rainiest conditions being in The Presidential range where we would summit Mt. Washington, known as having the worst weather in the US.

Here’s what I decided to tak

e:

Base layer:

Nylon underwear and bra

Darn Tough socks

Quick-dry shorts (from thrift store)

Polyester short-sleeved shirt (my Benton MacKaye Trail Assoc shirt!)

Trail runner shoes

Warmth and Rain layers:

Insulated stretchy shirt

Light wool sweater

Wind shirt jacket

Rain jacket

Lo

ng stretchy pants

Silnylon rain skirt

Fingerless wool gloves

Extra socks/mitts

Warm hat

Sun hat

For emergency warmth, I can wrap up in the rain poncho that doubles for a ground cloth, the fleece sleeping bag coupler, or the down sleeping bag. That’s it for this trip!

As the temperatures drop, I would add the next layers of insulation, but for now, I’m a happily clothed hiker!

New Views in New Hampshire: Brush with Quitting

image

SEPTEMBER 8.
I awoke out of my haze of confusion about just what was weighing me down, arguing in my mind, blinding me to the beauty surrounding me, stabbing my knees with pain.  It was one of those Old Stories bubbling up to be felt and acknowledged – and transformed!  I had embarked on this two month journey on the Appalachian Trail to use walking in Nature to clarify my relationship with my hiking partner. Wasn’t THIS a pivotal moment in that intention?!!

The past twenty miles had been hard! In fact, this section is often viewed as the hardest of the entire Appalachian Trail.  Between Gorham and Pinkham Notch NH, the trail crept up and down the four peaks of Carter Mountain and the five peaks of Wildcat Mountain. Even though the trail started gently out of Gorham, it was equally paved with steep slopes of smooth rock faces and rugged rocky stair steps that seemed a few inches higher than my legs easily reached.

Although my Meet The Mountains technique kept me going without getting winded, my legs got a tiring workout that dampened my usual high spirits. We had made a short stop in Gorham, just long enough to resupply our food. Laundry, bedrest, and phone battery charging had been skipped in service of a quick turnaround back to the trail. A clear weather window for crossing the White Mountains had beckoned us on! Perhaps that strategy jeopardized the trip.

We weren’t even sure of exactly where we were on the trail south of one of the peaks of Wildcat Mountain, on our second day south from Gorham, NH. Difficulty dominated my thoughts, though I wasn’t certain what the problem was. It made sense to push on the seven or so miles to Osgood Campsite to set ourselves up for a two-day traverse over Mts Madison and Washington. But, my knee hurt a little, I felt hungry, and I had concerns about lodging at the mountain huts. To top off my burden was the aggravation of my phone shutting off again, draining the fifth of my six batteries. “Three days in the White Mountains without pictures?!! What a bummer!”

I plopped down on a log and pulled the rehydrated sweet potato snack from my pack. At least THAT was something good!  I searched my mind for what it was telling me. “You have to do what HE wants and not what YOU want! You’re wimpy and give up too easily! You should be able to keep going without a break! Who cares about your pictures anyway?!! So your knee goes out, THAT will show him! He’s right. You should just hike on your own!!”

Bing!! An equally strong voice, more gently powerful and warm said, “Regina, listen to your heart, your wisdom, your generous, sharing soul. You can have a partner AND a fulfilling walk. You can BE vulnerable and athletic and moderate all together. You can rest, recharge, and adjust your course in any number of ways. It’s ok to acknowledge your physical needs.”

I listened to THAT voice.

That’s when I could hear John’s Old Story playing perfectly with mine. “I’m not a good partner for you. I push you too hard. I make you do things you don’t want. I’m the cause of your upsets.” I could easily hear the fiction in HIS story. Maybe mine is equally fabricated. Just maybe!

That’s when the Trail showed us our clear path. We reached the point where in 2007 I had made a precipitous choice to go down a cliff instead of around a boulder that crystallized my resolve to have a hiking partner. I had been so shaken by the realization that I had made that treacherous choice that I had asked John at the snack bar at Pinkham Notch if he wanted to walk with me through the White Mountains. On this journey  in 2015, we reached that cliff together, agreeing that it, indeed, looked like a plausible way to go. The correct way really didn’t look much safer!

“Let’s stay together and help each other wake up to these sabotaging beliefs. It’s better to have a partner even if we bring out these stories for each other.”

Just one more mile to the Visitor’s Center at Pinkham Notch gave us time to reaffirm our choice to go on, AFTER a night’s rest. We found that easily at the Joe Dodge Lodge right here at Pinkham Notch.

Two full meals, recharged batteries, a long rest, and reframed stories later, we’re ready to walk on – TOGETHER!

image

In 2007 I thought this was the trail!

Maine Ideas: A Disneyworld Opportunity

Mahoosuc NotchWindowRoot WebIt could be in Disneyworld! Imagine this. You walk through a lush garden of waist high flowers, golden leaves, moss blanketed rocks. A white arrow painted on a big rock slab points to an opening, beckoning you to enter. You crawl through the dark hole, and before you lay a pathway of alluring rocks, draped in green moss. Branches take on fantasy animal shapes, webbed roots form puzzling gateways.

Up, down, through holes and caves, ledges and cracks, you twist, stretch, climb, and turn your body. You step across chasms between lichen-covered boulders, just far enough apart for a thrilling step, hearing water running in the depths below. Another arrow points the way, faded and a little vague. Is THAT the way, down into the dark? You look closer. Yes. There are more arrows down there! You lower yourself down the smooth slide and crawl under the great slab and out the other side, pushing yourself up through the slit into the light.

For two hours, this fantastic journey unfolds, calling forth your spirit of adventure, endurance, intrigue, and danger. At last you emerge from around one last jagged boulder and walk through a garden on the other end. Wide eyed explorers ready to enter from the opposite side ask how it was.

Sounds like a perfectly marvelous adventure land for Disneyworld, eh? Well, it actually exists on the Appalachian Trail and it’s named Mahoosuc Notch! One mile of jumbled boulders trapped in a notch between two mountains forms this maze of gymnastic feats. Passage through The Notch was just part of one day in the Mahoosuc Range in Maine!Garden

Maine Ideas: Richness Explored

SEPTEMBER 1. While sitting on the bed at Pine Ellis Hostel in Andover, Maine, deciding what to share about the last 34 miles on the Appalachian Trail, my awesome hiking partner just packed my gear! Sweet! Here are some highlights of the past 4 days……..
****Bemis Mtn with its four peaks, plus Old Blue, Moody, and Hall Mtns thrown in for gymnastic mastery.
**** South, Sabbath Day, Long, Moxie, and Surplus Ponds for morning mists, thin sand beach, and a missing moose.
**** Bemis Stream plus Black and Sawyer Brooks for dry sock rock hops and welcome water sources.
**** A food sensitivity challenge to provide a stage for transforming a belief that I’m not worthy to be John’s hiking partner to affirming that I can love and accept my body as part of OUR hiking team.
****Endless sensory nourishment with rocks and plants and diverse forests, sky and sun and vistas.
**** 100+ northbound hikers offered plenty of chances to rwgard and support others in theirbown quests.
****A 24-hr stay at Pine Ellis Hostel, Naomi’s home turned hiker lodge where a homelike setting helps us relax and prepare for the next four-day section, complete with full meals, gear revision, a MASSAGE from a neighbor, and…..a new sleeping bag!!

The Appalachian Trail in Maine provides a rich setting for sensory nourishmemt, toning and appreciating my body, clarifying an intimate relationship, regarding and supporting others in their own journeys…….

Ahhh. My kind of Life!