Mara here. Today we reflect on what we are thankful for. At Hike Like A Woman we are for sure thankful for Mother Nature. But it goes much deeper than simply saying “I’m thankful.” So Ambassadors Madelene, Katheryn Jones, Sierra, and Lauren detail just exactly why they are grateful for Mother Nature. I will also add my two cents. The picture below is of Katheryn hiking in the pouring rain. I love feeling the discomfort that nature can have so it helps me be more appreciative modern conveniences. Happy Thanksgiving all!

Madelene

If one knows that being outdoors is what makes one happy, like I do, then access to that is one of the most precious things. My hiking excursions are generally spontaneous day trips to a nearby trailhead, a few days of backpacking or a handful of days camping out of my truck.  Having wheels is critical to me to be able to get outside. I love my truck but if I still had my old Subaru this post would be about her instead. What it comes down to is the freedom that the privilege of having a vehicle gives me.  In the bed of my truck, under its canopy, my father and I built a sleeping platform with storage underneath where I keep all my camping, hiking, fishing and packrafting gear. Whenever, I get a few days free I throw in a cooler of food and I can head into the woods.  With the stealth factor of a truck, I can find a dispersed campsite almost anywhere and feel safe. Cindy (I named my truck after all the sassy women in bluegrass songs) has vintage lace curtains, Christmas lights and a cook box. I have spent so many nights parked down some dirt road that I often sleep better in her than a real bed.

I have moved at least a dozen times over the last 7 years and after each move, it takes time to find my people.  As a result, I generally hike and backpack alone. I have drawn great strength from knowing that I am capable of these adventures on my own.  Nothing compares to the feeling of pulling out of the driveway when you know the wilds and solitude awaits. This year I am grateful for the freedom I have to explore.

Kathryn Jones

Dear hiking trail,

When I’m driving to come for a visit I have this feeling, like it’s a first date. Butterflies in my stomach, excitement all around, and nothing but joy for what’s to come. I want to wrap my arms around the mountain and thank it for being such a great friend. The trail is the place I make all my confessions, tell my deepest darkest secrets, sort through my issues, and listen to the lessons it provides me.

Sometimes I like to share the trails with my friends, but sometimes I like to keep it a secret and hold it all to myself. I’m so thankful for nature, and the calmness it brings me. I smile in times of sadness, I am able to rest in times of stress, and able to totally be myself and feel free. It’s my little escape from the hustle and bustle of the day to day life.

I have my go to trails for dealing with certain emotions. I know when my soul needs to see a beautiful view to look as far as the eye can see. I know when to go to the bottom and look up in awe and wonderment at just how small I am on this earth. Then sometimes I need to see water to truly bring me a sense of calm, serenity, and contentment. I’m so thankful to live in a place that can offer me all the things I need in my hiking experience. Of course I want to travel to new places, explore more, see higher peaks, climb taller mountains, but I am thankful for what I have here in little Birmingham, AL.

Sincerely,
A very grateful hiker

Sierra

Why I’m Thankful to BE in the Outdoors

Why do I hike, you ask?

Well, the same reason I do all other sorts of activities that involve the outdoors. I do it for that refreshing air that is pumping and burning through my lungs as I climb up the next trail towards the unknown. I do it to rid myself of those extra pounds I won while working overnights for over a year, one step at a time, glutes burning the whole way. I do it to catch up with friends and spend time with family. I do it so that I’ll hopefully be around to see my future children’s children. And I do it to feel that same rush one felt, as a child, when they discovered something new and enticing to the mind.

The outdoors are full of so many wonderfully amazing things. One can spend their entire life wandering, adventuring, striving to cover every stretch of the world and they still won’t have seen it all.

I step into the outdoors to find that little piece of magic that lives in reality.

So I challenge you, take the time to step outside this month. Stop and pause for a moment, and close your eyes. Be still and take in a deep breath. What do you smell? Is it the grass, the leaves, the trees, the earth? How about your hearing… can you hear the leaves rustle, the crunch of an elk walking on the trail near you, the scurry of a squirrel, the tapping of a woodpecker, the crashing of rapids or dripping of a spring? Now open your eyes and capture all the lights and colors until they engulf you wholly.

I challenge you to look at your world as if you had never seen it before… Wonderful isn’t it?

And that is why I love the outdoors. Every time I venture outside, I find a little piece of magic. I find something new that captivates and allows me to wonder.

I am forever thankful for being able to enjoy the outdoors.

See you outside

Lauren

I’m so thankful for the outdoors. Nature soothes my soul and makes my heart happy. From mountain tops to river bottoms, great open spaces to our own back yard – I love every bit of it. I truly cherish the time I spend outside. For me, it’s not a luxury – it’s a necessity.

When I hit the trail, it’s like time slows down with each step. I’m dropping the weight of my thoughts, my “to do” lists, my expectations of myself. I’m in the moment. I appreciate the beauty in small things. I stand in awe, savoring the breathtaking views on my own time. I push my limits, or I sit on the bank and watch the river roll by.  It’s my choice. I can choose what my body and soul needs in that moment.

Hiking also gives me perspective. It reminds me that sometimes you have to depend on someone or something else. Other times, you have to rely on your own hard work and determination to reach your goal. Trails show me that we can do great things, even with obstacles in our way.

Every hike, I try to bring home a lesson for myself. To hold onto that feeling I get when I’m on the trail. Sure, hiking is an escape from the commotion and noise of our daily lives. But it’s also a teacher. I hope that I’m always open to the lessons the trail teaches me. They’re so valuable in pushing me in the direction that I want to lead my life.

I’m also super lucky that that my family and friends share my love of the outdoors. Some of my favorite memories have been made along the trail, or sitting by a campfire. The bonds we forge in the outdoors carries us through the hard times together. It teaches us that we can rely on each other. We can do the hard things. We can get through this challenge.

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