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  • Emily Loren

The Truth About Challenging Hikes

A few days ago I went on a hike for the first time in a while. I hate to say that, but it’s the honest truth! My work schedule has been crazy, and I’ve been spending all my free time rafting on the river. These legs have been taking the summer off. Excuses, right?


I woke up early to hike a nearby peak. About halfway to the top, I came to a beautiful viewpoint. Mountains and the soft morning light… even a little smoke spilling into the canyon to dramatize the whole scene. Then, I had this wildly toxic thought come out of nowhere.


Why go all the way to the summit?


It’s not like the view is going to get any better. Without a hiking partner to encourage me to go on or hold me accountable, nobody would know. There's no one here to judge me. Nobody would know except me. ME the only person who stands to be affected by this decision.


Get out of here, brain, with your negativity and laziness.


At a turtles pace, I continued huffing for air until I was well above 7,000’. Finally, I rounded the corner out of the treeline to behold the rocky summit. The views were even better than I remembered. Totally worth it.


Anytime I feel like quitting or wonder why I started in the first place, I remind myself of these 4 truths...


You’re Stronger Than When You Started

Hey you! YOU: the woman taking her life into her own hands and prioritizing a healthy outdoor lifestyle. You’re amazing.


We are all amazing.


Think back to your very first hike and compare it to the distances you’re able to carry yourself to now. I never would have dreamed I would be hiking up to 7,000’ peaks before work years ago, but look at me go!


Be proud of your achievements. Every. Single. One. They all pool together to make you the strong outdoorsy women you are today.

The Rewards Are Worth The Effort

That first lookout I came to on my hike was lovely, but if I had turned back then I would have never experienced the full picture from the summit. Pushing through a couple more miles was absolutely worth every step!


I had to overcome the desire to take the easy way out and push through the distracting noise of my own mind telling me to quit. It was challenging, but I’m glad I chose not to miss out on the reward.


Sore Muscles Are the Product of Hard Work

My legs are still feeling a little tender, but you know what they say, “no pain, no gain”!


That temporary discomfort you're feeling is just your body’s way of gearing you up for more miles and even more outdoor adventures. It’s you getting into the best physical shape of your life. Celebrate those achy muscles because they are the product of your drive.


Your Support Crew Is Here!

Here’s a little call out to the greatest community of outdoor women I have grown to know and cherish:


The Women’s Hiking Crew is your ultimate resource for support, advice, and encouragement throughout all of your outdoor adventures. Have a question? Reach out!


Emily is a freelance travel and outdoor recreation writer for hire. Samples of her published work can be found at emilylorenwriting.com.


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