About the Author, Jenn McCracken: “I was raised loving the outdoors. I love hiking, off-roading and rafting and worked as a guide in Moab. I love encouraging women to push through their own obstacles. I am a Jesus-loving, adventure chasing divorced furmama/pitbull advocate who follows a ‘do it big and do it right’ mentality. I can be found on IG: @Moabchic78.“
Each of us has a reason to push through our obstacles to get outside and explore. For some it may be simply exercising in a more natural setting and for others it goes into a deeply therapeutic experience. For me it’s been a life-long love/hate relationship. Hiking has never come easy to me but I am undeniably drawn to the sometimes punishing, but always rewarding adventure of putting one Oboz boot or Chaco Z2 in front of the other.
Recently (ok the last 3 years or so) it has become a source of deep therapy in a post divorce world. I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and it caused serious weight gain and kept me from hiking for many reasons. This was especially difficult because I had been an off-road and river guide who loved hiking in earlier years. I felt as though I had lost my inner Super Hiker and I needed to find her again, even if it’s the plus size version of her. I was able to get a hysterectomy to address the hormone imbalance and this allowed me to take charge of my health again. As a response to my newly divorced reality, I went out and started challenging myself to find that inner Super Hiker that I have been desperately trying to keep alive over the years.
I have always been a ‘if you are going to do it..do it big and do it right’ kind of girl. Growing up and living in Utah, I am spoiled beyond belief with endless adventure in my backyard. I look at the tallest peaks and wish I could climb them, I look at the vast desert canyons and wish I could traverse them, but my weight and my asthma chime in with panic saying “think again girl, you have to haul yourself back out”. Pair that with the fact that I also hate hiking with anyone because I don’t want to slow them down and I’m self-conscious..there are a few hurdles I have to jump every time I get the itch to hit the trail.
To that end I tackle hikes that continue to challenge me to help measure my level as I gain back the progress I felt I had lost. The beauty I have found is that I am realizing that it wasn’t lost…I am simply writing a new chapter in my hiking book… the 41 year old fluffier version with drive and passion to pursue those adventures I love.
Fast forward a bit and I was approached by my friend and manager at work who just walked through her own divorce and wanted to do something big that no one else would do with her…..hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Now this is a big hike on it’s own but she isn’t an outdoorsy person at any level, but she was serious. I had a very frank conversation with her about the reality of this hike and where we both are physically. She is slender but doesn’t exercise, a single mom who works full time. But she is all in…so that means it’s up to me to make sure we are prepared and trained properly for this adventure. Did I mention we work remotely and she lives in Phoenix…so it’s my training resources and guidance but we each have to tackle it alone.
It’s been a slow process but I am now on the crazy road training to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
To that end I am looking forward to sharing my insight, experience, and gear reviews with you in the coming days.
Love, your fluffy yet determined new writer… Jenn (aka Moabchic)