It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted on here. Unfortunately, it’s because I just spent that last few weeks dealing with a family emergency. Everything is fine now, but my dad was in the hospital dealing with a serious medical issue and I had to fly home to Philly to be there with him and the rest of my family. The silver lining of this really stressful and tough situation is that my dad got out of the hospital a few hours before the Superbowl, and we were able to watch the Philadelphia Eagles win their very first Superbowl together! Fly Eagles fly! Despite that big win, it was still a really tough way to go home.
I got back to Alaska early Wednesday morning, and spent the rest of my week just trying to catch up on everything at work and in my personal life. And by the time the weekend rolled around, I was mentally and physically drained and a bit unsettled about where “home” really is for me. I had to work on Saturday, but my husband opted to pick me up from work and take me directly to the mountains because he knew it was exactly what I needed.
And he was right. From the second I stepped onto the snow-covered trail I started to feel like myself again. We hiked up to Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass, which is one of my favorite places in Alaska. At first the trail was groomed and we were walking easily and quickly up the hill. We could see skiers and snowboarders in the distance, but otherwise we were completely alone. It was magical.
Once we reached the old mine, we got off the trail and hiked up a steep hill to the top entrance of the mine. This trail is pretty easy in the summer, but in the winter we were alternating between walking on hard, solid snow and postholing through deep snow. At some points we were literally sinking down to our hips in powdery snow! We should have had our snowshoes on, but I didn’t mind getting snowy.
Despite the struggles (or maybe because of them?) we were having a blast out there, and my mood instantly improved. There’s nothing better than the feeling of being somewhere gorgeous, miles away from your car, with no other people in sight. Being in the mountains really feels like home to me. That hike took away all of the stress and sadness that I’d felt over the last few weeks and replaced it with a feeling of strength and happiness. It’s hard sometimes to live so far from my family, but I really love my life here in Alaska and don’t think I’m ready to trade it in for Pennsylvania again just yet. For now, I’m going to spend as much time as I can in the mountains where I feel the happiest.
Do you use hiking to feel better when you’re having a tough week? What feels like “home” to you and why?