Yesterday morning, my dear aunt drove me to the Atlanta Airport to board a flight headed west with a return flight two weeks later, so I could embark upon a sabbatical of sorts. On the drive, I lamented through tears that I couldn’t shake feeling selfish for staying away from my family and responsibilities this long, despite needing some time alone like nobody’s business. Her response to my insecurity was exactly what I needed to hear, “You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can take care of anybody else.” And just like that, I let go of (most of) my guilt and boarded a plane headed to Lake Tahoe and the surrounding wilderness areas.
I’ll be thru hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 170ish mile trail that circumnavigates the famous lake’s border. There’s a study out there that says to glean the full restorative effects of a wilderness experience you need to spend at least three days in it. My hope is that the 12-13 days I’m out there gives me the courage to look at my life from a distance and dissect its many bits and pieces, then figure out how to put it back together again in a way that sustains instead of drains me.
Just as sure as walking through the wonderlands of our beautiful country is balm for my soul, so is writing, so I’m hoping to journal about the adventure as I go too.
Without further adieu, let’s get on to the adventure! I am writing from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Stateline, NV, where I spent the night last night. Casinos are very strange places to me and walking into them always makes me feel a bit like I’m sitting in the waiting room scene of the movie Beetlejuice. As I was walking through the casino last night, I passed a very elderly man wearing a t-shirt that said, “My name is Jimmy and I like to party!” Party on with your bad self, Jimmy!This morning, I ate at a great diner close by and had a huge hiker’s type breakfast that I haven’t even earned yet! After I hit the post office and a local gear shop for a fuel canister for my stove, I’ll take another bus to the trailhead and hike in about 8.5 miles to my first night’s destination, Star Lake. I intentionally made it a very low mileage day, knowing I’d be tired from the looong day of travel. Now, I’m about to hop on a bus, run my errands and I’m off!