So, I am embarking once again on a journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. Marching this time to benefit the Black Mammas Matter Alliance and commit to creating better outcomes for black women’s health. I just crossed into Washington state and am getting ready to hike 1,000 miles from Canada to California, and already feel the expansive nature of the wild- inviting me on to the mighty Cascades.
Last year, when I journeyed to Hart’s Pass to hike 1,500 miles of the PCT, I had just passed my boards to become a nurse. A year has passed of rigorous Nurse Practitioner school, per diem jobs at nursing homes helping with the COVID pandemic, some races here and there, and a huge amount of love and support shared with friends and family. Like cycles of the seasons, I find myself back in Washington state, ready to begin another journey. This year, amidst a pandemic and emotionally taxing self quarantine, I find myself with complicated feelings of fear of loneliness and isolation. Usually, after hard years of work and caregiving, I cannot wait to get into the wilderness alone. This year, I am anticipating loneliness, lostness. Amidst of sea of quarantine orders, I am dreading isolation.
That said, I cannot wait to begin. The trail is my second home. My spiritual well. Allowing my body and spirit move with the trail, I find clarity and peace, deeper and more fulfilling than any other endeavor.
Traveling by car up to the Northern Terminus of the PCT offered a chance to stop at some treasured places- Ashland to relax and refuel in a peaceful cabin, then Mt. St. Helens to meet up with a friend and run a tidy 28 mile loop around Spirit Lake. Just a warm up!
Another change from last year to the year, I traveled up with my boyfriend, and feel attached to his presence in my life and know I will miss him.
With every new relationship, we must learn to balance our inner journey with our shared journey. Thus the title of this post. I am writing the story of my life, along with the story of my part in our collective story as citizens of the earth. Finding personal peace on trail, and finding solidarity and purpose in marching for black maternal health, I hope to send a message of love and empowerment to women and their allies- our power is deep, our strength has no limits, and we can do far more than we think we are capable of. Into the Wild I now will go.