About the Author: Kayleigh Coupe, age 27, is a two-time cancer survivor, happy hiker, sister, daughter, and friend. She is currently working as a Registered Nurse in Utica, NY while continuing her schooling to become a Family Nurse Practitioner by 2020. Find her on Instagram @krcoupe.
There are a lot of things I never thought I would find myself doing. I had a lot of goals that would satisfy my bank account once I accomplished them, but none that would satisfy my soul. Over the last few years however, I found myself saying ‘Yes!’ to things I never thought I’d do. Never say never, right?
The term ‘hiker’ was one that I never thought I’d use to describe myself. I enjoyed the outdoors, had joined in on a few hikes with friends, but it wasn’t a regular activity for me. Over the last two years, however, that all has changed, and for the better. After ending a three-year relationship, I was eager to find something that I could call my own, something that would open my horizons, make me feel whole again.
Hiking was not the obvious solution to this at first. Although I enjoyed being challenged, I wasn’t certain I could take on such challenges, such as the Adirondack 46 High Peaks. At that point, I had met Michael, a bold individual who had a craving for adventure and had already accomplished the Adirondack 46 High Peaks. Utilizing his knowledge, I decided that this was the time to say “Yes!” to something different, something that scared me, but might possibly be amazing; it was worth the shot. It did not take long to realize, after hiking my first Adirondack High Peak, that I was hooked, hooked on hiking. Why had I never thought about doing this before?
Michael had advised that I start my high peak adventure with Cascade Mountain and Porter Mountain, two of the less strenuous hikes amongst the Adirondack 46. Taking Michael’s advice, I somehow convinced my cousin to accompany me on a sunny Saturday to take on these two peaks. Lacing up my sneakers, pulling on running pants, throwing on a t-shirt, and grabbing two large bottles of water, I was ready for some time outdoors.
What I was not ready for was the overwhelming feeling of pure joy that filled me to the brim once I rounded the last curve amongst the trail that exposed Cascade’s open summit on that blue-sky sunny day. My t-shirt was dripping with sweat, I was fatigued, and I was hungry, but all such sensations ceased once I laid eyes on such magnificent beauty that was this mountain. At that moment I decided I wanted to experience that feeling over and over until the day my legs were unable to carry me.
Since that September of 2017 I have pursued countless hiking trips, developed friendships with strong, amazing people, and have become a stronger, independent woman than I ever could have imagined. I have stories to share, stories that raise eyebrows, stories that are mine, and wouldn’t have been if I had continued to say “never.”