52 Hike Challenge · HIking · Living in Alaska · Weekend

Going to the Mountains is Going Home

It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted on here.  Unfortunately, it’s because I just spent that last few weeks dealing with a family emergency.  Everything is fine now, but my dad was in the hospital dealing with a serious medical issue and I had to fly home to Philly to be there with him and the rest of my family.  The silver lining of this really stressful and tough situation is that my dad got out of the hospital a few hours before the Superbowl, and we were able to watch the Philadelphia Eagles win their very first Superbowl together!  Fly Eagles fly!  Despite that big win, it was still a really tough way to go home.

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The view from the hospital

I got back to Alaska early Wednesday morning, and spent the rest of my week just trying to catch up on everything at work and in my personal life.  And by the time the weekend rolled around, I was mentally and physically drained and a bit unsettled about where “home” really is for me.  I had to work on Saturday, but my husband opted to pick me up from work and take me directly to the mountains because he knew it was exactly what I needed.

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And he was right.  From the second I stepped onto the snow-covered trail I started to feel like myself again.  We hiked up to Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass, which is one of my favorite places in Alaska.  At first the trail was groomed and we were walking easily and quickly up the hill.  We could see skiers and snowboarders in the distance, but otherwise we were completely alone.  It was magical.

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Once we reached the old mine, we got off the trail and hiked up a steep hill to the top entrance of the mine.  This trail is pretty easy in the summer, but in the winter we were alternating between walking on hard, solid snow and postholing through deep snow.  At some points we were literally sinking down to our hips in powdery snow!  We should have had our snowshoes on, but I didn’t mind getting snowy.

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Despite the struggles (or maybe because of them?) we were having a blast out there, and my mood instantly improved.  There’s nothing better than the feeling of being somewhere gorgeous, miles away from your car, with no other people in sight.  Being in the mountains really feels like home to me.  That hike took away all of the stress and sadness that I’d felt over the last few weeks and replaced it with a feeling of strength and happiness.  It’s hard sometimes to live so far from my family, but I really love my life here in Alaska and don’t think I’m ready to trade it in for Pennsylvania again just yet.  For now, I’m going to spend as much time as I can in the mountains where I feel the happiest.

Do you use hiking to feel better when you’re having a tough week?  What feels like “home” to you and why?

22 thoughts on “Going to the Mountains is Going Home

  1. I’m glad your dad is better! I try and head to tthe trails as often as possible, especially during stressful times… A few days after my visa was refused at the end of December, we headed to the Peak District for a quick New Year hike and it was the thing to do. We started the year on the right foot. I hope everything is much better for you now. Alaska looks gorgeous and I’ve dinitely added it to my wanderlust list!

  2. So glad your dad is doing better! Hiking is what saves me during hard times. I think I feel most at home when I am in nature.

  3. I definitely use hiking as a way to feel better after a tough week. Actually, I did that 2 weekends ago and it helped so much. I’m sorry you had to go through that with your dad. It’s so scary! glad you could at least watch the game with him too. What a win!! Home to me is wherever I am loved, feel comfortable, and usually where my animals are ❤

    1. Haha the funny/not so funny part of it all is that he was dealing with cardiovascular issues and then he had to watch that game! Luckily we won but I’m sure if he’d been back at the hospital his heart monitor would have been going off towards the end!

  4. Man, I’m glad your dad is better, but that’s such a rough experience to have! I’m glad that you can find refuge and solace in the mountains – they’re so incredibly comforting.

  5. So relieved to read your dad is in better health and was even able to watch the Super Bowl! I resonate so much of what you wrote here as I am from Delaware but live in Colorado. I had to fly home last summer as my dad had emergency heart surgery and I found myself asking similar questions and not sure where I really belonged in a time like that. While I miss my family so much, my love for the mountains and the space is just as big. Leaving DE after a visit can often be exhausting emotionally as I feel a bit torn but once I get out onto a trail or on a dirt road I remember why I’m here and that home is here and there and always within me. Thank you for sharing this so nice to relate!

    1. Ummmm are we the same person?! My dad needed emergency quadruple bypass surgery which is why I flew home! It’s good to know that there are other people out there who are going through the same thing I am – missing family while loving the place you live. It makes me feel less selfish for choosing to stay here even though this is where I’m the happiest. Thanks so much for leaving this comment!

  6. Hiking is the best therapy. Any time I get stuck in a rut I always know I just need to get outside,even if only for an hour, and I instantly realize my problems and worries aren’t the issue, my attitude is and the mountains give me a sense of myself!

  7. Hiking can always make me feel better. No matter what the ailment (for the most part), once I’m in the woods, moving, I instantly feel better. I have a preserve by my house that I call my “home”. I like to travel, and so I see many different forest, but every time I return here it’s always like home.

    Glad your dad is better and you found some peace on the mountain!

  8. There’s literally nothing better than taking a hike to raise your mood! I completely agree! I just wish I had some lovely Alaskan snow to hike up! For now I’m happy with some muddy English hills!

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