We had turned around to begin the process of finding our way out of the forest and back to the car when I offered a bit of gratitude to the universe for urging me to get pancakes with my breakfast.
See, I was meeting my good friend Hitch to catch up and talk all-things triathlon-related after my easy 7-mile run. Originally, I thought about getting scrambled eggs and toast, you know, to be moderate with my caloric consumption. But instead, I ordered scrambled eggs and pancakes and decided not to feel bad about it.
Halfway through the hike, I was celebrating my consumption.
Late Sunday afternoon, Mark and I went for a hike in Franklin Gulf, an undeveloped park in Eden, N.Y. While there are some marked trails, adventures with BBM are a bit like that line from Back To The Future.
Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.
Perhaps a bit more eloquently, I thought of a quote by French author Anais Nin:
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
See, Mark always finds the most amazing places for our adventures. There are spots in Western New York I never knew existed. And while my love of hiking dates back to my formative years of being outdoors with my dad, new worlds are born to me with each outing.
Off the beaten path, we saw amazing views of land formerly logged, thinned out and now trying to regrow itself. We followed a creek for most of our off-trail walk, finding waterfalls and elaborately cut shale.
We then had the adventure of climbing the waterfall as our only real way out of the ravine and back to the car.
Our mid-afternoon hike was taken at a leisurely pace so by the time we were making our return the sun was starting to get low. I didn’t know where we were exactly or how, precisely we were going to get out. And mild levels of fear were starting to build.
But as those thoughts came, I began to redirect them to things I know are true. Nothing was going to go wrong. I was with Mark. I trust him. This is his world and he knows how to navigate it.
I surrendered to the moment and went back to enjoying the challenges presented, such as inching along a shale ledge and fallen tree trunk to maneuver past a deep portion of the stream and various collected debris. (It almost looks like wilderness yoga, doesn’t it?)
Taking Mark’s help when needed, I successfully made it up the waterfall without falling. (OK, yes, I ended up plunking my foot into deep, cold water on a couple of missteps which rendered parts of the next mile unpleasant, but I stayed upright.)
Can I just say, remarkable day?
To do something I love. With someone I care about it.
As if that’s not enough, redirecting myself into the moment opened up new worlds, physically and emotionally, with beauty and opportunity and strength.
And so I offered gratitude — for Mark, for the unusually warm October afternoon, for the natural beauty of this undeveloped park, and, of course, for my extra-large breakfast. Turns out, when I follow my instinct, it all works out just as needed.