The Catharsis of a Scenic Hike

Social Issues

  • Author Lisa Jey Davis
  • Published December 24, 2006
  • Word count 1,040

You know, people's lives are just a little crazy. Things can often seem crazy at work. It's crazy keeping up with the kids and their schedules, or social and other obligations. Even having fun out on a Saturday night can get a little crazy!

Every once in a while in our lives, our bodies need to relax, regroup and rejuvenate. It's a lofty goal indeed, when we are stuck in grid-lock traffic at rush hour, racing around the mall to buy last minute gifts, or fast approaching a deadline we have worked very hard for. But rejuvenation is essential. Why do you think yoga has become a more popular practice in the last twenty or thirty years?

I practice yoga, and I love it. Especially when I can practice outside, or in a calming, beautiful environment. I must say that getting outside and breathing the fresh air, participating in nature - whether walking, hiking, biking, or practicing yoga - is extremely cathartic. There is nothing like it. My new love is just getting out for a walk, or hike - someplace with beautiful scenery or views, where my mind can be drawn away from the pressures of life.

Today I went for a walk with my boyfriend. We'd recently dealt with our share of stresses, from sickness (our entire house came down with some weird respiratory virus that made our heads spin - literally! We were all dizzy. Did you know there is actually a medication that takes away vertigo?) to an unusually early cold snap with over twenty inches of snow, that caught a lot of people off guard, not to mention the unending work both of us had to accomplish in our jobs (which we both do from home)! It seemed we'd become attached to our computer monitors, and I was feeling very claustrophobic.

After days of working inside, cooped up and feeling a certain communion with my internet connection, I'd had enough. I needed to get out of our little condo and into the fresh air (we live in Aspen, Colorado, where all the condos are small - it's much like New York City - not much space). We drove to the guard rails on Independence Pass, where it gets locked up for the winter season. We parked, got out and started walking. Granted, it wasn't a real back-country hike (we were walking on pavement), but we went at a good clip for over an hour before turning around. The crisp, cool air was fantastic (and since most of this part of the pass gets full Southern exposure, we weren't in danger of freezing). The best part was the magnificent views! It felt so great to be outdoors, taking it all in!

It's times like these, when I get what I like to call my more "creative" ideas. I can fantasize or get lost in the wonder of the wilderness. My imagination goes wild! One such wild adventure of the mind started like this: I noticed how I was sweating hot, even though I only had yoga pants, a bra top and a light fleece jacket on. The air kept cooling most of my body down, but it seemed my chest stayed pretty warm (and even sweaty)! It was then that my mind took leave. I wonder if my chest isn't cooling off because I have silicone implants?

Then I said aloud to my boyfriend, "If I was ever found frozen to death out here, honey... I wonder if my chest would freeze?"

"What?!" he laughed incredulously, knowing I was referring to my silicone implants. "That's just out there!"

I knew it was. But I continued, "Well, you know. My breasts never get cold!" I said, laughingly.

"They don't?" he asked.

"Nope! But I'm not sure if it's because when I'm outside in the freezing cold, I am moving around so much, exercising, that my chest stays warm because of the extra weight, or because my lungs are working so hard?" I contemplated this, before I went on, "Because I never come out in the freezing weather and just stand around, so it's hard to know if they would be warm, if I were standing still!"

"That's just too weird, honey!" he kidded me. We both laughed at the strange places your mind (well, my mind) can go out there on wasteland's edge.

I admit, it was a twisted comical moment. Why on earth was I thinking about whether or not my ta-tas would freeze anyway? Leave it to me to ask the question loads of girls have wondered (haven't they?), but were too afraid to ask!

Just recently, I read an opinion column in the local newspaper that suggested they set up a booth at the base of one of Aspen's most popular hikes, Smuggler Loop. The author noted how so many people use hiking as a way to deal with the pressures of life, so the booth at the base could be staffed by a priest, a counselor, etc... He had some great ideas for how to market the ideas, i.e. "Counselors of Cardio" or "Reverends in Reeboks." It was pretty funny. I thought, Now that could work! But the truth is, lots of people go out into nature and on hikes to think, not to talk! Hiking, walking - getting out there and breathing the fresh air is extremely invigorating, and can solve a world of woes. One could argue that given the places my mind travels to on these hikes, perhaps a little psychological help wouldn't be out of order! I swear, my pocket version of "Psychology for Dummies" never warned me of the dangers of going wacko out on the trail!

The point is, I went on this great walk, and I experienced some incredibly peaceful, contemplative moments, as well as plenty of laughs along the way. It was actually an enjoyable experience for the self-proclaimed city girl that I am! But it also cleared my head. Believe me, I have plenty of things going on in my life to cloud or distort my thoughts and stress me out! This little jaunt took me to another world, and I relished the moment, as well as the wonderful benefits to my body!

Lisa Jey Davis is a professional freelance writer, website owner and motivational speaker. Having worked as a marketing and PR consultant for several years and in television production with networks such as MTV, CBS, the NFL and others, Lisa Jey knows what people like. She packs her message with candor and hilarious anecdotes. One of her many websites, offers fun articles and some amazing finds:

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