Remember when I said I had grit? I was so full of confidence last week, so sure that I was writing the truth of my self when I put it down on the page. Naturally, because of that, I was tested this past weekend on the backpacking trip my friend and I went on, as if the universe was listening, and said, oh yeah? Prove it. 

Listen, I was up for it. The hike ended up being longer than we thought, my pack heavier, my body more out of shape than I thought, my feet were blistered on mile 3, the list goes on and on. But we made it. I had all that grit after all, I am still a physical woman. But it was not easy going, as good things so rarely are. In fact, it was pretty dang hard going. But so, so worth it. 

I was sitting by the lake on Saturday night, as the sun dipped down over the jagged ridgeline across from me and the water began to still, and wrote this in my journal: You have to remember that saying yes is always worth it, even when it feels inconvenient or too hard, or you're scared and it's easier to say no. Yes is worth it. This is worth it. Sometimes I need those reminders. I'm definitely a person who has no problem saying no, which is a real gift in many cases. It's often the case that women are more conditioned to say yes, that we feel obligated to help or agree or be nice, and somehow my generally obstinate nature managed to barrel through that. No is my mother tongue, my go-to. So yes was different, a good challenge. And this trip, even though it was a little last-minute, a little hectic, was undeniable proof that a little yes goes a long way. 

It was hard, I had to prove my grit, I had to get out of my comfort zone. Whatever. What's really important is that I looked out over a valley and saw rippling mountain peaks in every direction. I walked along a roaring, rushing river that snarled and smashed and gurgled and gallivanted through the valley floor. I watched my dog lope up and down the trail and then, as it got steeper and hotter, flop into every patch of shade he could find. I saw huge bunches of Indian paintbrush and a tiny purple flower I don't know the name of, and cooled my feet in mountain streams. I saw butterflies at nine thousand feet. I cheered with my friend Jen when we finally made it to the lake, and lost my breath when I jumped in. I watched the light change over the water, listened to rockfall from mountain goats, heard Cedar snoring on his blanket by my side. I laughed and talked with my friend Jen about living a life that feels like art while we ate over our tiny stoves. I read my book by headlamp and I slept in the cold of an alpine night under ten billion stars. I drank coffee from my favorite enamel mug and watched mist hang low over the water. I felt the promise of morning as we headed down the trail, and the sweet relief of finding the car after we finally made it down. I felt it all, and it was worth it. Here's to the trips that push us, in however many ways, and how worth it they always are.