Accidental 6 Mile Hike

I’ve been working to move in the best direction for me. It’s been full of ups and downs and yesterday threatened to be a down which is how I ended up accidentally hiking 6 miles.

I have tried several things, but now that spring is here I find it easier to do one great thing: Get outside and move.

It’s so easy to sit there and end up rambling through your head. Head rambling is never good — inevitably it is always negative. So I decided my legs needed a biking break and the cool windy day provided me with a great excuse to do something other than biking.

In no short order I found myself at one of my favorite spots in the area: Purgatory.

I was just trying to redirect my focus from the dark side, I didn’t want anything too stressful or overwhelming. So I set off with no water, just a sweatshirt, hiking shoes (thankfully my new ones are coming in this week), and a phone (how else does one cache on the fly?) The normal route was closed due to clean up in the area from the floods last year so I was left with only one ingress by the dam.

Some trails are closed from March to May to protect the rare Golden Cheek Warbler.

GOLDEN CHEEKED WARBLER photo from City of San Marcos

GOLDEN CHEEKED WARBLER photo from City of San Marcos

It was a little rocky and eventually led up to the top. Nothing too significant and there were a couple of caches in that direction. At the top I took in the lay of the land: the top of the dam, the ravine one side and the red rooftops peaking out of the green trees on the other where Texas State University lay.

The day was a little cooler than it had been, but the breeze felt nice and the sun was out which is always a plus. I plugged in my ears and set Spotify to some upbeat music. Before too long I found myself clipping along to the first cache and letting my mind wander where it wanted.

Today I started out with the flaws in my current short story (come back April 1st to read all about it) and even more distressing — no ending. As I wandered in what I thought would be a circle (it was not) the story flushed out in my head. I was almost four miles into Purgatory when the details were solidified enough that I could put pen to paper; however, that was when I discovered (via handy mobile) that I had been walking in pretty much a semi circle. There was no way to really complete the other half.

I was no where near where I needed to be. In this case, my car. As I scrolled along the map to find paths in the trees I realized I was going to be walking more than I intended. I really was not big on just turning around, nor was I anxious to complete 8 miles since I had not brought water with me — not that that made a difference at this point.

Sucking it up, I found a slight diagonal overgrownish path that cut a couple mile off my return route. There were some muddy patches here and there — the only indication that it had rained recently.

It was during the grumbling return trip that I realized that I had forgotten about my funk. In fact, I was eager to get back home so I could finish my short story. Ideas percolating away threatening to drift off into the ether the longer I was away from my computer.

One consistent way to get out of a funk: DO something. Maybe it’s not always the same thing. Clean the house, go to the gym, walk (maybe not 6 miles), kayak, something — just move your body and the mind will follow.

The activity of doing allows you to focus on something external away from the potential negative internal dialog. It’s not a perfect cure, but it does allow one to become more fit and healthy which may just end up on the happy shiny path.

If nothing else, you can enjoy the smell of spring, the dapple or warmth on your arms from the sun, and a lightness in you step.

What do you do to bring yourself out from a funk?

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