One of the good things about where I live is that one of the most amazing national parks is pretty much in my backyard. Just a quick forty minute drive or so to the Visitor Center where on weekends through the end of November, they are running a shuttle service through the scenic road of the park. Yesterday, I felt like challenging myself so I set out to do the Observation Point Trail, which is described by Zionnational-park.com as “[t]he path is steep and gains elevation quickly, making it one of the most strenuous of the classic hikes in the park. If you have poor fitting shoes it can be quite painful on your toes on the return hike.” (I found the description to be accurate, btw.)
I did the famous Angels Landing Hike a few weeks back (yes, I’ll write a post about it too!) and this seemed more strenuous overall. Maybe because it just kept going on and on and on. I laughed to myself when I thought, a few weeks back, that maybe I would do the Observation Point Trail before sunrise. Um, no. That would have been insane, I realize now. The terrain is not always even and I would have been worried about slipping and hurting myself on it, even with a headlamp. That early in the morning, I suspect I might have had the trail (nearly) all to myself.
The shot directly above shows you some of the heights you can climb to on this trail. These trails are helping me get over my fear of heights. It occurred to me more than a few times that day that I’ve definitely been pushing my boundaries these past few months, in so many ways. I don’t think I could have done this trail even a few years ago. I would have been too chicken.
Looking at some of these pictures, I feel blessed to be so close to such an amazing park and to be able to see these views anytime I want, rather than having to plan for about a year in advance. It’s just a bit over a half hour drive away. How lucky am I?
As I was climbing the trail, I passed a lot of people on my way up, but very few on my way down. In fact, one couple was heading up as I was coming down, and asked, with a hopeful look in their eyes, if they were close to the end. I hated to tell them that I had already been walking downward for about an hour (with a few stops for photos, of course.) I advised them that if they did make the top, they would likely be coming downward in the dark, so they should consider that. I didn’t see them carrying any flashlights or headlamps, so I hope they turned around before the summit of the trail.
All of this alone time was good and bad. I like my solitude, but I also don’t like when my thoughts are loud and confused. I kept wondering, am I doing the right thing by trying to wean off of the Prozac? And is now the good time to do it with the cold weather and darker days rapidly approaching? Should I just give up altogether on the dating thing and just focus on myself? (Yep, look for a post on that to be forthcoming.) Am I just suffering from culture shock lately and that’s why I am starting to think of what life would be like if I decided to go nomadic at one point? (Yep, look for a separate post on that to be forthcoming, also.) Why did I buy such a large RV – and will I be able to afford to heat it during the winter? Are the cats and the dog safe inside the RV right now with the space heater going? Can I really afford to make a go of things on this salary or am I just kidding myself? (Then, the answering thought of “yes, you can, you just need to be careful with your spending and only focus on what really matters and is needed. If you’re new to the blog, read this post or this one.) Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go on these hikes with someone once in a while?
And lastly, are all these thoughts running through my mind because of the fact that I’ve decreased the prozac dosage or is this normal??
When my thoughts kept coming over and over, I tried to tell myself to live more presently in the now. All these thoughts, coming all at the same time, can be and were overwhelming. I realized that they were taking away from my joy of what I was doing at that present moment. I tried to remember some of my coping skills my therapist taught me back east, part of which was through cognitive behavioral therapy. I tried to think of why these thoughts were coming to my mind, and what were the feelings behind them pushing them to the forefront? What feelings were causing them?
It doesn’t always work, but lately, when my concerns and obsessions over things (such as money and do I have enough of it to create this new life I’m leading), I try to force myself to be more in the present moment. Worrying about the future doesn’t help the now. Thinking about mistakes made in the past or regretting decisions made in the past doesn’t help the now. One of my favorite YouTube channels is Exploring Alternatives. They had a great interview done of them by Kirsten Dirksen of the FairCompanies channel. They have a great line in the interview where Mat says “the future doesn’t exist. But we’re here now.” And it’s these words I try to come back to as often as possible.
What kind of coping skills do you use when your thoughts get away from you? What are some beautiful hikes you have been on?
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