Kathryn is literally one of the SWEETEST people I've ever had the blessing to talk to. Her writing is absolutely breathtaking and just in talking to her and reading her works you feel content and happy. If you haven't checked out anything she's written please take my advice and go get all of her books. Well, read this first please. ;) Major thank you's to you Kathryn for taking the time to write this for me as well as for my friends. <3
The DUFF moment I want to share is about an extremely challenging hike I was on with my husband in the summer of 2017. We were camping at Lake Louise in Canada (one of the prettiest places in the whole world) and had just hiked about four miles (all uphill) and I was definitely having an “off” day. It didn’t help that Rob (my husband) didn’t seem that tired or overly exerted from our hike – and when we reached the trailhead for a second hike, he really wanted to do it. It was only a mile or so up, and the view was supposed to be fantastic. The hike was to the summit of Fairview Mountain (if you’re ever at Lake Louise definitely do this hike – its worth it) but I was hot, tired, hungry and my legs already felt like lead from the four miles we’d just done (and still had to do to get back down to our campsite).
Rob took off and I told him to go ahead of me – something we rarely ever do when hiking. But I was exhausted, and not feeling it, and wanted to be on my own to suffer. The one-mile hike to the summit ended up being grueling switch-backs so steep that half the hike you have to pull yourself up the rocks on your hands and knees. Every hiker I passed coming down was cheerful and enthusiastic and encouraging. I was actually in tears – it just felt insurmountable to me.
But I kept climbing – suuuuuper sloowwwly – and even though it was slow, it was steady. Every time I turned around, I was gaining altitude, getting higher, and all around me I could see the mountains, the forests, the crystal-blue-green glacial lakes. The hikers I passed told me, every time, that I was absolutely almost at the top, until – after about an hour – I was.
I was crying pretty hard at this point – I’d crossed over from exhaustion and pain into feeling like a bad-ass that I had done it. On my own, with no help. The last hundred yards I could look up – see Rob waving down at me from the top. He raced back down, and then we reached the summit together. I cried (again) and then realized that we were standing on top of the world. I could see all of Lake Louise as well as other, smaller lakes in the distance I would never have seen if I hadn’t climbed to the top. I could see mountains, cliffs, other hikers stretching around for miles and miles. It was one of the most emotional views I’d ever experienced.
On my way down, Rob and I got to say you’re almost there, promise – to the bedraggled hikers that we saw. Two hilarious best friends stopped and asked if I would take their pictures. They were hungover from doing too many shots the night before, but were persevering on and laughing along the way. We then got to experience the bliss of a hike that ended all the way downhill – followed by Canadian beer along a quiet river.
I think about that hike often when I’m struggling – how hard each step felt, how victorious I felt at the top, the emotions swirling in my chest. It was just a hike on a warm sunny day, but it’s really become a symbol to me of slowly moving forward, one step at a time. It taught me that I can do anything – that it might hurt, I might cry, and I might even have serious doubts. All those things are just as important and real as the triumph at the end.
Follow Kathryn Nolan on Social Media:
My review of Wild Open Hearts HERE
My interview with Kathryn can be found HERE
Books I've read and their buy links:
Bohemian (a review will be up next week! ahhhhh)
Landslide (there will be a review of this one up next week too! I can't hardly contain myself! I've been having a dance party every night because I'm so excited.)
Wild Open Hearts