The Extra Forty-five

Resting today from a wonderfully exhausting 12-mile backpacking trip with Michael and his best friend, Bryan this weekend. We made plans weeks ago to trek up to Lake Amethyst in the high Uintah Mountains wilderness, and this weekend ended up being the least busy, so we took the chance to get out and climb some peaks. Hiking has become a wonderful hobby for Michael and I to share and we go at least 3 times a month, however, this was my very first time backpacking.

Now let me tell you, carrying 10 pounds or less in a pack, only filled with a liter of water + a snack and sunblock is great resistance enough. Add 35 extra pounds of tent materials, mini camping stove, extra clothes, sleeping bags… plus a much longer hike, steeper incline, muddy areas and plenty of slick rock… now you’re in a brand new ballpark of extreme exercise. I won’t hold back in saying that plenty of the trek to the Lake, I was muttering all sorts of curse words towards the guys under my breath. Trying out new forms of recreation (as simple as adding more incline and plenty of weight) is a very humbling experience. This self-proclaimed weight training fanatic and HIIT training queen fell short of her expectations on this hike, you guys. Now, given, I had worked out all 6 days prior to our trip and did, in fact, regret it during the last 4 miles up.

Taking on that extra poundage reminded me, easily, of how my body felt when I was at my heaviest. A few steps and my knees began to wobble a little bit. A few miles in and my lower back was just killing me. There were plenty of points that I just wanted to bag the damn trip and ask to stay overnight in Bryan’s car, but I would not let myself quit. That, and I felt I had to prove something to my Ever-the-Outdoorsman boyfriend and his best friend. I wanted to prove that I could keep up with them. (Insert my inner competitive, out-doing Bitch)

With the trekking poles, I was able to help myself navigate over thousands of sharp and slick rock beds, balance as I “tight-rope walked” across mossy logs, and marched through fields of mud.

I’m not a organized religious person, but I am incredibly spiritual. I don’t think having a claim of being a Christian, Buddhist, Lutheran (etc etc etc) is a free ticket and covers your need to go out of your way to help yourself and others around you live a better life, find peace, and give back. I feel most whole and most at peace when I’m doing service, donating goods and clothes, and when I’m in nature. These things remind me that I’m NOT the only one and that this life is NOT about me… but about helping those around me, about leaving a positive influence, about leaving the world a better place than how I found it.

Funny moment: we’re within 2 miles of our camping spot and Michael begins a conversation with Bryan about his engagement to our friend (and his girlfriend of over 10 years) Candace. She is currently apprenticing in Washington DC at the Law School for a year and travels back to Utah a few times every few months to visit. Bryan is planning on relocating there if things go well. Bryan mentioned how they have plans to marry next Summer (I’m not sure of the location) and Michael and he continue an inaudible conversation from my stance in the back of the line. Eventually, Michael turns around and says, “Amy, you’d better catch her flower-thing…” to which I reply, “You mean, her bouquet?”

“Oh, right, yeah. The bouquet.” Uneasy, butterflies-in-my-stomach laugh from me and we’re back to hiking again. I think I smiled the entire last 2 miles (it helped ease the pain of the backpack).

On Saturday night, we witnessed the most magnificent Harvest Moon that shone so bright that I actually wore my sunglasses to sleep that night in the tent. As the moon rose up over the high cliffs right behind Lake Amethyst, the light dispersed all over the valley around us, over the water, so bright that it felt as though it was still daytime. Stunning, just stunning.

We returned home at around 5pm last night, showered and crashed on his couch. We decided to start a new show together, and so we’re now working our way through “Breaking Bad,” which is actually very good. It reminds me vaguely of Dexter, which I love to pieces. I don’t remember the last time I slept the night at my own place… I’m always at his. I simply feel at home there.

Today, I am busy with cleaning my apartment, laundry, and getting my homework ready for classes this week. The sun is shining, fall weather is here so I can see the leaves change color on the mountains, and I am head over heels in love with a man who truly is my very best friend. I’m sore (everywhere) from our massive hike, but so very happy. I not only love him, but like everything about him. Busy week ahead with school, work, and my training schedule for my upcoming half marathon in 12 days. All I can say is bring it. I am ready.

ps. My usual PINK sweats were very loose this morning. I’m planning on weighing in again on Wednesday, but I’m guessing I lost a few pounds on our trip and over the past week. This time, I’m not caring so much about the number on the scale that I end up at, but with muscle definition, body fat percentage, and performance goals. I’m getting back into my 8 minutes-per-mile running, pullup and pushup madness, and just plain feelin’ good in my skinnies. Let’s do this.


One thought on “The Extra Forty-five

  1. What a fantastic post. My husband and I used to take similar trips into the interior of Algonquin Park. Life changing, huh? But I never thought about comparing the pack weight to my body weight. What an incredible motivator.

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