I recently backpacked up to McAfee knob in Catawba Virginia. It was a 3 day 2-night amazing trip. The best part was hanging out up on McAfee Knob meeting people and hearing their stories (see below). There are different types of hikers, me I used to be all about the miles and being the first one to get there. Not anymore! I go for the journey. I want to enjoy the beauty, the wildlife, and the people. I want to notice the sound the leaves make when the wind blows, the different types of pants and the fungus that grows on the wood. Hiking Can Be Life Changing, what made me change? To want to slow down? I believe it was Qi Gong. I have been studying Qi Gong for about a year with Zen Wellness. They say “change your life in 15 minutes a day” and I believe it. I study using books, meditation, standing, and moving forms.
Then there are hikers that are still in the “go” mode. My friends Kim and Jim did another 10 miles while Penny (who goes for the same reason that I do) and I went up on the Knob to relax and enjoy. Nothing wrong with wanting to get as many miles as you can, it’s just not what I want anymore. The good thing is everyone was OK with it.
Penny and I met Jacob up on the knob. He was leaning against a tree with his earphones in and reading a book. Here was his email to me:
This next semester, Fall of 2018, I’ll be a junior studying Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University. This summer, I have an internship in Roanoke, VA that allowed me to get away from all the bad things in my life which was needed to say the least. In February of 2018, I was wrapped up in a bunch of bad lifestyle choices: smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating habits, if it wasn’t healthy, I was probably doing it with the exception of illegal substances. One morning I woke up and felt a bit off but disregarded the feeling and went downstairs to take a shower anyway thinking it was just some weak muscles from the workout the day before. I don’t remember much after stepping in the shower because I had passed out from what I thought was dehydration shortly thereafter. I was taken to the ER, where after extensive blood tests, scans, and X-rays, doctors had found a blood clot in my lower left lung. They began to wonder how a, at first glance, healthy 20-year-old has a blood clot when his family has no history of clotting. I blamed it on my lifestyle choices and the doctors, to protect themselves, couldn’t say whether it was that or not.
I knew something needed to be done to change the way I’ve been living. When I came to Roanoke, I found all this free time outside of work where I was able to take advantage of it. I hike, not just to kill myself and cover so many miles a day, but to find the beauty in life and relax in God’s great creation. Since the last week of school this past semester, I’ve suffered terrible anxiety that came out of nowhere. Is it possible its because I’m constantly thinking about the blood clot that could’ve killed me? Possibly because I’m 10 hours from home in a city where I have no family? I’ll never be for sure. It’s a traumatic experience in my life but through it, I was able to find myself, grow closer to God, and regain my physical and mental health.
Here we are now, four months, four blood-thinning prescription refills, countless hours of hiking, and a healthier lifestyle later. I enjoyed meeting and talking to you on the trail! Enjoy your future hikes!
My note: Jacob, so proud of you for changing your lifestyle! Sometimes it takes something to happen to wake us up. If I can help in any way please let me know.
We also met Michael he was from Russa but lived in Texas. he was working in Va. and on weekends he would hike. He said his wife was in a lot better shape then he was and they were doing a hiking trip to the Grand Tetons in a couple of months. He was working hard to catch up with her. I think he has a little bit to learn before his big trip. He hiked 3 hours uphill with one small bottle of water and a hiking stick he found on the trail.
On the second day when we hiked back up to the Knob, we met a couple of college students and their new puppy. They put up a hammock and stayed the night on MacAfee Knob with their puppy. They watched the sun go down over the city and come up in the morning. If I make it back that is where I am staying.
We met Carline when we ask her if she wanted us to take her photo out on the edge. She was a cancer researcher. She was very interesting and we ask lots of questions. She also hiked down with us. She said she enjoys hiking on weekends to relax and get away. She takes her time and enjoys the entire journey. Sorry, I can’t believe I didn’t get her photo.
Here are some other images from our trip. Enjoy!
Get out in nature
Hiking Can Be Life changing. I hope this post inspires you to get out in nature. To leave all your troubles behind, open up your senses and smell the roses, or whatever. Let me know your story and journey. It can also be in your own backyard or a nearby park. Check out this post about how to have fun while hiking. http://elitephysiquesinc.com/category/hiking-backpacking/
Stay healthy and strong!