Happy Friday 06.15.12 + Boulder

A little more from my trip.

My "I have arrived" photo at the entrance to Chautauqua Park with Catherine Pistone-Cooper.
(I climbed that mountain behind us, but more on that later.)

On Thursday, Catherine took me for a lovely hike in the park.  These gorgeous hot pink wildflowers were amazing and all over the foot of the path leading to the Flatirons.  

She snapped this pic of me among the rocks. 

And on Friday morning, I headed back to the park for a solo hike up one of the peaks to this spot called, Royal Arch.  For my effort, I was rewarded with this view-

From start to finish, this hike took me right at three hours.  The map shows that it is 4 miles and you climb from 5600 to 6800 in elevation.  I've climbed further and higher in one day than this, but this hike, on that day, would prove special.

At one point I followed a path that although it might have taken me to the Royal Arch, was not clearly marked and not populated at all with other hikers.  I met a woman coming down the path and asked her if I was on the correct path, but she could not tell as she had not been in the park before and was a little lost herself.  She had turned around because she felt unsure and wanted to be on the safe side.  I offered that we could do it together, but she was with her husband, if only she could find him.  So I decided to forge ahead on my own, not really sure I was headed up the correct path.

A short distance up this trail, I stopped to try to get my bearings.  I was so unsure of the direction I was headed and starting to feel like perhaps I should be smart and turn around instead of risking getting lost.    Plus, as I surveyed the rocks around me, I got the uneasy feeling I might be setting myself up to be mountain lion bait if I kept going it alone.  As I headed back down though, all I could do was scold myself for being a chicken sh*t.  For giving up.  For not being brave.  I was feeling deeply disappointed for giving up.

As I walked along the correct path I came to a sign that pointed me in the right direction to hike to the Royal Arch.  But as I stood there, I still wasn't sure of myself.  Then, one-by-one, hiker after hiker passed me headed up the path.  They had confidence and seemed to know where they were going.  That they had done this before.  So I just fell in behind them.  I would follow their lead.

As you can see from my photos, I made it to the top.  Alone yes, but also surrounded by other people making the same journey I was.  I chatted with a few as we took turns passing each other on the way up as one or the other of us would stop to catch our breath.  Everyone friendly.  Everyone happy with the day.  Everyone encouraging those who might have turned back.  "You can do this.  Not much further to go.  The view is so worth it."  All the right words to get us all to the top.  To success.

A self-portrait.  A picture to capture how I was feeling at the top. Proud. Happy. Peaceful.

It was several days later, that while thinking about this day the twists and turns in my journey to the top, that I realized the story is somewhat of a metaphor for the changes going on in my life right now.  That as I step out into my new life, I will take the wrong way at times.  That I might long for a companion, even though I know I can do it alone.  I will become fearful and turn back, but only for a moment, until I regain my confidence and find the fight in me that pushes me to reach my goals.  That at times, I will be hard on myself and question why these things have happened to me, but then allowing these thoughts to fade as quickly as they came, to be replaced with self-love, courage and more wisdom. My trip to Boulder last week, and in particular that Friday morning hike, gave me just what I needed.  

The clarity that I am on the right path.

Have a wonderful weekend friends.  And much love to all the Dad's out there on Father's Day.