We are celebrating women in the outdoors through REI’s #ForceOFNature project. This is not a sponsored post, we just want to keep sharing our thoughts and feelings about what it means to be a Force of Nature.

Have you ever felt like you needed to do something hard to prove to yourself that you could do it? Today Lorna shares an experience with us about a time when she could have packed it in and called it a day–but that’s not her style.

Lorna is part of our Ambassador team. You can also find her on her blog, Flatwooders.

Photo courtesy Lorna Radcliff

My heart was pounding out of my chest.  

My throat was burning with each gasping breath; it took a minute to even realize that I had been holding my breath for a bit.  

The burn in my muscles was growing with intensity.  

The sweat burned my eyes.

The smell was unimaginably mine.  

My body never felt this challenged before.  

I was fighting for every move.  

The weight of my feet was amplified.

Photo courtesy Lorna Radcliff

I was unstoppable though.  

I was at the top.  

I had done it.  

Breathe, just breathe now.  

The view through my burning eyes was worth it.  

The breeze cooled my sweaty body.  

Awe of my presence here softened my pains and aches.  

I found a large rock and sat, soaking it all in.

 I drank my water and never felt so refreshed.  

I made it up this mountain to an amazing waterfall.  

It was currently only a trickle in comparison to photos of it that I had seen, but it didn’t change my perspective.  

I had achieved this.  

It was not out of competition.  

This was not me proving anything to anyone else.

It wasn’t about proving that I was woman enough.  

It wasn’t about proving that I was still young enough.  

This was me and my grit against my own personal challenge.

Photo courtesy Lorna Radcliff

No, I didn’t climb Everest.  

I hadn’t even hit 2,000-foot elevation.  

I was in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee at Emory Gap Falls, 1,965 feet.  

I had only hiked a little over 2 miles.  

The elevation difference was only 465 feet from my starting point.  

I felt like the last half mile was much of the elevation difference.  

For a Florida flatlander, where the average hike elevation difference may be 15 feet, I had been challenged.

I am not a super fit, twenty-something, young lady.  

I am an overweight, forty-something, aging woman that loves the outdoors.   

I am your average, everyday woman.  

I work in an office 5 days a week.

 I daydream about my outdoor adventures, my weekends on the trails.  

I plan week long vacations to the mountains to experience that heart-pounding exhilaration.

This week of vacation time in Tennessee had me camping in the rain more than not.  

My cooking area at the campsite was tarped to shelter it from the weather.

Photo courtesy Lorna Radcliff

I could have packed it in and simply gave up, but that’s just not my style.  

At the first break in the weather and I was off adventuring.  

The trails were calling.  

This was me overcoming the weather, the elevation, the slippery rocks, the mud, the steep terrain and narrowing trail.  

This was me proving to myself that I am a true force of nature.

Because that is what I am and so are you.



2 comments on “Proving To Myself That I Am A Force Of Nature

    • Thank you for your comment Jennifer. This is what I love about Hike Like A Woman – real women talking about real things and encouraging one another. Happy Hiking! -Lorna

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