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.
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 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.
“It’s too quiet out here, and I’m sleeping without the rainfly. The thin mesh netting seems a flimsy barrier to anything outside. But I feel a sense of independence...
I never considered myself strong or athletic while growing up. I wasn’t even really active until after college, when I started running along Lake Michigan a couple times a week. So if you ask me how that girl turned into the woman finding her way up rock faces with a bunch of carabiners and slings attached to her harness, I’d have to tell you I’m not really sure.
Get outside, use those lungs, let your eyes wander. Be curious. Don't check your phone. I repeat: stay away from your phone. Seriously.
I had begun training in August, and as the race approached, I found myself getting anxious. No matter that I’d completed my long training runs without any issues, or that I’d faithfully adhered to a training plan I’ve used before. I kept thinking about the the “what ifs”.
As I hiked along the snowy trail in Provo Canyon, Utah, I looked up at the wide wall of ice above me and wondered what I'd gotten myself into. Actually, I wasn't so much afraid of climbing up it as I was worried I might freeze to death halfway through the day.