The green fields had disappeared and given way to browns and oranges, dust and rock. There was space, but also dimension. Jagged patterns zigzagged up cliffsides. Meandering washes ran in opposition to the horizontal power lines marching clear across the land; man trying to make order among chaotic wildness.
Something in me was determined to not have my final skiing memory be the one where I ugly cried down the mountain. I had to try again.
For those who find peace and quiet in the outdoors, or who manage depression and anxiety through movement among the trees, any kind of injury feels like a tiny death. So how do we handle the lack of endorphins that we’ve become accustomed to when we’re sidelined? How do we maintain our connection to the outdoors?
In the four years since I moved to Utah, every so often my dad would mention, “I’d really like to go camping in the Uinta mountains. We should do a backpacking trip there.” After looking at calendars and guessing on the best weather window, we decided on the first week of August. I was going backpacking with my dad.
During the week, my skis and boots sat at the door of our apartment, a constant reminder that I needed to keep practicing if I wanted to get better.
I’d already done a few short hikes around Yellowstone with my parents before my mom asked, “So what do you keep in that backpack, anyway?”
I don’t know how many days and nights I’ve spent hiking, camping, running, and climbing since moving to Utah, but these public lands have changed me.
Four pitches of climbing later, the stupid poison ivy was still rattling around in my brain.
Covered in pinyon pine and juniper trees, speckled with prickly pear cacti and broad-leafed yucca, the vast stillness urged me to explore further.
We need to break these stereotypes and these barriers, and I think it’s primarily going to happen on a woman to woman basis.