No Love Without Freedom

Wherever you chose to go

Recently, I’ve been absolutely addicted to this song. It’s actually a pretty cool version by Miley Cyrus. Now, before you go getting all “I don’t like her” or, “She’s crazy!”, please listen here. It’s super chill, and yes, admittedly very mushy, but the chorus, while repetitive, has a very good message:

“No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No freedom without love”

Now, we obviously have to give mad props to Dido, the original singer for putting this out in the universe, but in all reality, I think Miley gets it right in her style. Now, before I turn this into a music review (sorry, music nerd coming out) let’s get to the point of why this is relevant to a hiking blog, and more specifically, my journey.

A couple of weeks ago (August 29, 2015… I’ll never forget that date.), I decided to do a “practice hike” AKA, I just really wanted to be in the woods, and hike some awesome trails. The specific trail I had in mind was the Old Speck and the Eyebrow, This specific trail is actually located on the AT, and is a gorgeous hike. The Eyebrow is a blueblaze that is challenging, and very rewarding. There are some really steep areas that require a decent amount of upper body strength. Heaven knows all hikers need that, am I right?

Places like this:

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The pole and wire attached are to pull yourself up with.

And then, there are places that require you to scale an open faced boulder using metal rungs securely screwed into place… Yeah, “secure”

You would think that, if I were to get hurt, this would be the place for it, right? Oh, no.

Fool of a Took

I was a fool. I honestly thought that the worst thing that could hurt me that day was the fact that Toni (my friend) and I were passed by a local high school soccer team… Twice

I was sadly mistaken.

You see, Old Speck has two smaller summits (roughly 2,500 elevation for the first, and the second being roughly 3,000), and while my friend and I were meandering over the second summit (being passed by most of the soccer team on their way back), I happened to step perfectly on a rock that was just perfectly placed, and I not so perfectly took a tumble. While I was gracelessly (someone had to say it first), falling to my doom, I managed to twist my ankle in a manner that caused my ligaments to either be stretched or torn (this is yet to be determined by my Dr.), and I landed all of my not so gracious weight onto my left palm.

And then, it all started to hurt. Every single part of my body. This is where it is so important to remember not to panic. It’s in that moment that you have to accept the situation, and assess in the most calm way possible what actually does hurt. (#lifetip)

For me, it was my leg, and my wrist. My wrist pain was sneakily hidden for the first half hour while my tibiofibular ligament in my ankle made sure I knew it actually existed. Thus began my journey back down.

Did you know…

According to paramedics and game wardens in Maine, It takes roughly most of the population of Maine to help you get down a mountain. Okay, slight exaggeration, but you get the gist. I had roughly 20 people who were either super nice day hikers, a high school soccer team,  paramedics, volunteers, or a game warden helping me inch my way down one giant rock at a time (If you haven’t hiked in Maine before, our trails are notorious for the giant granite rock piles you get to scramble up, and then back down). It took roughly 2 1/2 hours for all of us to get down the mountain, and it was another 45 minutes before I was given the above diagnosis. I went home tired, discouraged, and frustrated. My freedom was gone. I couldn’t believe I had gone from this:

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To this:

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All in a matter of misstepping. I was trapped in a hazy, drug-induced sleep for the first day, but cleared my head enough to go back to work that Monday. I went in disappointed, and annoyed with the fact that I was stuck like this. I was actually was sent home because they wanted me to rest (I have the best employers ever).

The thoughts “I’m going to lose so much muscle.” or, “I’m never gonna be able to hike again.” and finally, “Surgery!? But I have hiking, and trips, and a life!” ran through my mind. Devastation is an understatement to what I was feeling. I had to find a way to change my thinking.

And I Did

I started viewing the situation as a way to appreciate the Trail, and hiking from a distance, and I truly realized that my journey was so much more complicated than just hiking 2,000 some-odd miles. My journey was the ups and downs that got me to those first steps on Springer Mt. My journey was freedom. From suffocating buildings, and stuffy jobs, and people who didn’t understand, and most of all, from myself. From the person I had allowed myself to become.

Freedom

The Google definition of freedom is as follows (this is one definition of many):

“The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.”

“The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.”

For me, freedom comes in 2 ways: God, and nature. So, really 1 way with 2 parts. In nature, my connection with my religion is heightened, I mean, I’m’ treading ground that God created, and allowed the plants to grow. He gave me a healthy body, and a desire to spend time with Him in nature. I am free there. I am at peace. But, in order for me to be at peace, after my accident, I needed to love (see where the song come in, yet?).

I was bitter, and angry. Why was this happening to me? Why now? Why two limbs? I needed to release my bitterness and anger, and I needed to find my love and compassion again.

This past Saturday, I got a call from a dear friend of mine. This person is kind of like Clark Kent, but they’re not secretly Superman. They’re just obviously awesome… So, nothing like Clark Kent.. You get the picture. Anyways.. This person called me, and not only did they listen to my whole sob story (roughly 45 minutes), but they encouraged, and boosted me up. And I don’t mean the whole, “I’m so sorry, get better soon!” crap every person says to you after an injury, or like the horrible pity stares you get when people see you hobbling down a hallway, but real encouragement like, “Well, praise God you were able to get down safely.” and “It’s a good thing you had Toni with you.” Genuine, awesome, encouragement, and I realized the whole situation was a part of my journey to freedom.

No Freedom Without Love

Essentially, this post was written to encourage. When you’re in a bind, when you’re stuck, and you don’t know what to do, when you trip and break bones, or a bear eats your food, or whatever happens to you, there’s no reason you can’t get back up, and keep going. Your setbacks are there to push you forward! It’s usually on the cusp of desperation that the trouble finally breaks, and you see the reasoning and the light. Now, this next statement might be tough to read, but Love your challenges. You can’t be free from them until you embrace them with warmth, and love. How can you appreciate all of the wonderful things that are going to happen to you when you don’t have bad to compare it to? The bad moments, or tough situations are what frees you to love the good. Embrace them. Love them, and you will be free.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” – James 1:2

 

 

 

 

Lyrics courtesy Google.com
Photos courtesy Grace Jameson
Freedom Definition courtesy Google.com

 

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Comments 3

  • Avatar
    Cathy63 : Sep 11th

    I did that same trail solo, while staying in New Hampshire for three months this summer. I agree, it’s a very challenging trail, and I really should have taken someone with me. Somehow I made it through. Sorry to hear of your injury. I’m training for a thru-hike on the PCT, so I know how you feel. Good Luck and Best Wishes to heal quickly!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    goingroundandround : Sep 12th

    Thanks for this post. Praying you heal quickly and completely!

    Reply
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