I have a confession to make: although I work for the National Park Service, I
don't actually hike very much. My job requires me to mostly sit at my desk
under florescent lights in a historic building by the Bandelier visitor
center. I hear the whir of air conditioners and fans in my colleagues'
offices and try to get out for a ten minute walk along the paved trail
which people travel thousands of miles to visit. But real hiking, that's
something special that I don't usually feel like I have time for.
Two weekends ago my friend invited me up to Colorado to rent a house with some girlfriends. She's in the country from Rwanda, so six of us traveled from New Mexico, California, New York, and Washington D.C. to spend 36 hours together. It was a wonderful excuse to take a trip. We Airbnb'd a picturesque cabin near Breckenridge and cooked and hiked all weekend. Our six hour hike that Saturday reignited an interest in making time to be outdoors.
I truly value time to reconnect with nature. This past Sunday morning, my husband and I were already getting stressed out about our week. Work deadlines, document filing, getting everything in order for our child, it was all just psychically piling up on us. I suggested we take a hike in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains to the East of our house. It took about two hours to rally ourselves out of bad moods and housework to finally leave, but once we got out of our car at the trailhead, the fresh air swooped away our busy thoughts.
As we started out on the Borrego Triangle, I started to actually see the trees and flowers around me. You know when you're doing something but you're not actually seeing what's in front of you because your mind is somewhere else? That's how I seem to operate most of the time. About an hour into the hike, my husband said, "This is good, I actually feel better." For most of us, creating time to disconnect from our computers and take a break seems unrealistic. I can't rationalize time off and I'm guilty of burning myself out this summer. However, I find that when I do take even a couple of hours on a weekend (when I'm supposed to be resting anyway), I start the week with a positive outlook and more love for my family.