Five years ago I was struggling to find a reason to get out of bed each day. I was in the process of leaving an old life and working to create a new one. The transition was overwhelming, messy, and heartbreaking. I found myself in a deep depression that felt impossible to shake.
The Healing Power of Nature
I spent 1000s of hours in the woods as a child. However, 20 years later, I was solidly disconnected from Mother Nature. Thankfully, hope showed up in a random article about the healing power of hiking.
A month later after reading about the healing power of hiking, I found myself with a like-new pair of hiking boots off of eBay and a daypack with a water bladder. That was all I owned, but I felt like a very fancy hiker!
Since I lived right outside of Baltimore, my hiking started with long walks in the woods with no mountains in sight. But the hours I spent in the woods, most of the time with a baby on my back, saved my life.
Hiking Toward Healing
One foot in front of the other, I walked toward healing. The crumbling relationships and general chaos of my life was still a reality, but when I put on my boots and walked in the silence in the woods, they seemed to fade into the background.
As I hiked, I focused on making it up the hills, focused on my breath,and focused on how my legs were taking me somewhere new. I reconnected with the wild child within and felt the pieces of my heart begin to mend.
The challenges were still there, but I felt so much stronger and able to handle it all. (Side note: There are lots of science-y things to support this healing in nature, but that’s a deep dive on the interwebs for another day!)
One Step at a Time
If you are also in need of healing as I was–and who among us isn’t?–then let my story be the article of hope you read that sparks your re-connection with Mother Nature. Because the hope I found in those first fledgling hikes led me to create a life I love here in Utah.
To climb peaks with those same boots – slightly worse for wear now!
To form new relationships on trails, with a pack on my back and under the stars in the wilderness.
Now I laugh with a lightness I never knew I could experience. Now I do it with amazing women I meet through the Wine Hiking Society. All thanks to taking one step at a time.
Life is hard, but a hike can help.
Life is hard, but a hike with other women can heal.
Written by Melissa West
New Member / Beginner / Mom Ambassador