Nine years ago today, I went on my first solo hike in Colorado. My husband and I moved back to Denver in late 2013 after living in LA for a few years, and I spent that winter bookmarking must-do trails.
I had actually gotten pretty into hiking while living in southern California. The fast pace of LA had me craving solitude, which I was surprised to find on the trails in the Hollywood Hills. When we moved back to Denver, I was determined to get comfortable in the intimidating, rugged rockies.
So on the Summer Solstice in 2014, I woke up early, loaded up my black lab, Monster, into my beat up Subaru, and nervously headed west on I-70.
I was scared to go alone, but I didn’t know anyone into hiking, and I didn’t want that to hold me back. I settled on a trail not far off the highway that featured a gorgeous lake, and wildflowers galore. I hoped the views would distract me from my fear.
The lake sits at about 12k feet, and as the trail climbed beyond tree-line, I turned around to take in the view (and catch my breath). I remember feeling completely in awe, and even getting a bit misty eyed.
That moment has stayed with me for the past nine years.
Today, as I celebrated the Summer Solstice at 13k feet, not far from that first trail, I took the time reflect on nine-years-ago me. She was scared and unsure of herself, but answered the call to adventure anyway.
If she only knew what she had set in motion…
Today, as it has for quite some time now, hiking alone felt familiar and comfortable. These days, I feel most like myself alone on a trail.
Comfort zones expand when you regularly step out of them. Adventures that once seemed impossible become cherished memories. What feels out of reach eventually becomes reality.
You can’t skip the discomfort that comes with expanding your comfort zone. You have to do it scared before you can do it confidently.