About the Author, Sunshine: “Who am I? A hiker. A biker, a climber, a runner, a skiier, a painter, sister, friend, and therapist, a social worker, tanguera, selective vegetarian, an Earth lover, a cook, a  reader. And. A writer. I find a name and birthplace [mine] crucial to your understanding but less important than the connection I strive to feel with you, reader. For this reason I will wait to tell any more. For now, think of me as your friend on the trails, your storytelling confidante, and as Sunshine. I have written a great deal but no writing has ever appealed like writing about travels, like writing about hiking. Join me?”

Why do you hike?

You must hike. Or you must have interest in hiking. Why, if not, will you continue?

So. Why do you hike?

Why do you enjoy it?

Do you relish the feel of the sun on your face and the smell of night setting dew upon the grass outside your tent? Do you embrace the fears of going alone? Do you cherish the headspace that comes with walking, and walking more, and walking beyond? Do you consider the beyond when you walk…or do you just find yourself there, in it, when you stop considering all together?

Hiking has been many things for me. An escape, a home, a journey, a means to an end, a challenge, the easiest thing I’ve ever done, and the hardest.

There is pain in this world the size of which I cannot contain in the few words I will write today but which each of us knows well. Whoever you are, you have felt sadness. You likely have also felt joy. And the latter is made bright by the bleakness of the former. In my travels, professional, and dirt-adorned, I have found that most things that people think, feel, say, and ultimately do, are purposeful. For a reason. Sometimes that reason is helpful to the individual. Sometimes not. Sometimes we do what we are familiar or comfortable doing, or what we feel is safest, most supported by others, and that which will afford us the most “good.” Other times, we may seek that which harms us more than what helps.

Many might say that striking out on a hiking venture, as a woman, alone, is an endeavor that predisposes that woman to a misstep of great proportions. You’re putting yourself in harm’s way.  Others might say that there is no more right, no more natural, no more helpful a place for a woman to be than sheltered under protective boughs of a sturdy pine, held sweetly by the caress of a warm wind, or steadfastly convinced of her impermanence by the tranquil snow capped peaks, standing still as stone on the morning horizon. I tend to think that it’s probably a bit of both: we grow when we put ourselves in harm’s way; that in doing so, we are the givers of both our own help and our hurt. Like building a muscle, we learn we can by pushing it a bit further than we ever have, and being okay…surviving. And, by that logic, we learn we can’t there is more yet to be conquered when we feel the crushing weight of an injury that prevents the summiting of a peak, a fear of heights that keeps us from glimpsing the vista we desire, a lingering weariness about the sounds that go bump in the night. More strength, more courage and more self forgiveness are to be gleaned, to be grown, before we can surmount those things that present the greatest threats.

So why do you hike?

Do you seek to have your soul eased by your natural surroundings? Are you in search of your childhood self? Your adult self? Yourself… in whatever form that takes?

Do you find peace and solace on the paths? Do you find fear and face it down? Is it a little of both…?

If so, let’s connect. I will tell you more about the who and the where of what my hikes have shown me; Mostly though, I will tell you more about my purpose, my reason, and I hope you will come along for the hike.