Remembering How to Hike on Mount Shaw

… and I’m back. Back from six months of social media hibernation (10/10 recommend for mental health). And more importantly, back to the mountains for my first hike in 2021!

The weather was just too good this week to pass up on a hike – and well, the mountains were calling – so duh, I must go.

The first hike of the year is always an interesting one, as I dust off my pack and my foggy brain tries to remember my pre-hike to-do list:

✅ Find mountain (Mount Shaw) ?
✅ Read trail guide ?
✅ Drink coffee ☕️
✅ Check weather ⛅️
✅ Figure out route ??‍♀️ 
✅ Take a ???
✅ Download route on Alltrails Pro
✅ Brush teeth ?
✅ Check weather again ⛅️
✅ Hold a fashion show (i.e. what the hell am I going to wear!?)
✅ Pack my pack (water, snacks, sunscreen, socks, layers/rain gear, maps, first aid kit, last Will and testament, etc.)
✅ Check weather again ⛅️
✅ Pack a backup pack with extra supplies for any last-minute changes at the trailhead
✅ Make breakfast (typically a smoothie for the road) 
✅ ???  again (optional)
✅ Hit the road ? 
✅ Blast classic rock to make the drive fly by ? 
✅ Which turns into solo car karaoke – ?But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more ?
✅ Arrive at the trailhead, say a prayer and hope for parking ?
✅ Apply sunscreen ☀️ 
✅ Asphyxiation via bug spray ?
✅ Check weather one last time ⛅️ 

Then after all this nonsense comes the actual hiking part, which is always awkward the first time after a winter sabbatical:

From clomping around awkwardly on the trail, like a baby giraffe learning how to walk… ? 

To plodding along like the Hunchback of Notre Dame with a pack that feels entirely too heavy (did I really need ALL that water? Yes, dummy)… ?

Then there’s re-learning how to pee in the woods, and not all over myself (my yoga practice comes in REAL handy here)…

To excessive flailing and screeching from an assault of black flies, and mosquitoes… ??? 

Followed by a murderous stabbing rampage on a tick via a stick who dared to take space on my dog… ?? 

But eventually it all comes back – each step gets a bit easier, the pack gets a little lighter and I remember to snap a pic or two, and enjoy every moment on these mountains – even the awkward ones.

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