Sometimes you just have to go…

Glacier Peak Wilderness
Stealthy ~ Glacier Peak Wilderness

Fake it till you make it.
~Stealthy

It is a New Year! And guess what that means in my household? Yep, the trip planning begins.

If perhaps you are in need of a bit of inspiration or cheering on to make your dreams happen, I would like to share a letter that was given to me as a Christmas gift. A gift from the heart.

During the summer of 2014, I hiked through Washington on the Pacific Crest Trail with my daughter, Bryn. It was a big deal, because it was my final miles to finish my 4-year journey to section hike the entire PCT. The letter is a memoir of this time on the PCT. After reading the letter, I just knew I had to share it with my readers.

We all have excuses for not doing the things we dream of doing…not enough time or money, it is too hard, I will do it tomorrow, the house needs to be cleaned, I will wait until retirement, I’m tired, I’m not strong enough, I’m too old, it is scary, something bad might happen, it costs money, I don’t know how… the list goes on and on. The following might just spur you forward to take that first step.

Hiking with Rockin’: A Daughter’s Perspective ~ Guest post by Bryn Rosander

There are many important things I’ve learned from my mom growing up. I’ve learned the value of “finishing the race strong and proud,” to never stop at mediocrity when excellence is just around the corner, that forgiveness serves as an incredible healer, and to never let anyone take away the joy of something you love. An essential lesson I’ve learned from her, however, is that most experiences worth remembering never come without much hard work. It’s the hard work and intentional effort that makes all the difference in the world. I did not fully process or accept this until I was the daughter hiking 508 miles with the one and only Lady on a Rock.

It has now been about two and a half years since I said yes to hiking with my mom on her last leg (the state of Washington) of the PCT. Looking back, I strongly believe that this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To give some background information, being a daughter of the passionate, adventurous Rockin’ meant I was often forced on many hiking and other outdoor adventure trips growing up. Unfortunately, I rarely saw the value in these strenuous activities and often preferred to stay home. It wasn’t until I made the conscious decision to positively support my mother in her endeavors, despite my lack of passion for hiking, that I truly began to understand her drive and inspiring joy for the outdoors.

If you read any of the blog posts from our Washington adventures, you would know that our trip was definitely not always a walk in the park. I had so many random ailments, injuries, and allergies that we sometimes joked my trail name should be Trading Pains. I mean… I found out I was allergic to Latex AND wool on the trail, for cryin’ out loud! Thankfully, my speed walking habits and introspective, quiet persona won me the name Stealthy. I am grateful that the memory of pain never became my identifier. Despite the need to live off Ibuprofen for most of the hike, I was given the gift of peace and escape. Hiking allowed my brain to reprioritized needs and desires in order to keep moving forward one step at a time. It simplified life and opened the door for me to appreciate the small joys such as the vibrant green of Washington trees, the refreshing taste of mint toothpaste just before going to bed, and the sound of utterly complete silence. Finishing this hike proved to myself that I really could accomplish anything and that hard work and discomfort is not something to fear, but rather something to grow and get stronger from. Hiking taught me to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

Through the experience of hiking 508 miles with my mom, I came to appreciate many things she did that made our trip successful. First, she always made sure I had everything I needed including the best lightweight gear and nutritious meals. Never underestimate the power of hot coffee every morning, a lightweight pack, and good shoes. She planned excellent resupply hotels for regrouping, showers, wine, and ice cream. She documented our whole trip with her inspiring photography skills, and always made sure I kept going. But most importantly, my mom gave me the gift of space. I admit that I do walk very fast (partially due to my competitive nature but also from the panic of finishing mileage goals), and my mom let me. She never pressured me to stay behind or keep her company, and at that time in life, a chance to “just be” and walk peacefully alone was what I needed most. My mom respected my space and let me experience much of the hours on the trail alone. Granted, we always met at streams or lakes for lunches and in the evening to set up camp; moments I will never forget.

If I were to give advice to a hesitant hiker (such as myself before Washington), I would have to say that if you give yourself the option to quit, you will. So just don’t give yourself the option. You’ll make it and you’ll be better and stronger for it in the end. I truly believe we are capable of so much more than we allow, and we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the popular opinions or perspectives. My mom is one that never stops at a challenge and I can’t wait to see all she accomplishes. I admire my mom for being able to love something like hiking and motivating others to get outside with such passion. Her energy for life is so inspirational and I am thankful to call her my mother. Here’s to many more adventures with Rockin’. I’d follow her anywhere.

Love,
Stealthy

 

Washington/Canadian northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail
Rockin’ and Stealthy at the Washington/Canadian northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail

28 Comments

  1. Wow! Just up and go. Quitting is not an option. I hope to have something like this to tell my grandkids one day.

  2. Melanie Stephenson

    Hi Rockin!

    I’m planning to hike a 500 mile section of thePCT this summer (late July through August). I was originally going to go start in Old Station and head south to Independence.

    With the snow pack in the Sierras this year, I’m planning to shift and do something in the Nor Cal/Washington/Oregon area.

    If you could do any 500 mile stretch, what would you recommend?

    Thank you!

    Melanie

  3. Len Hennig

    I’ve just discovered your site and have read all the recent posts. Someone sent the link to Davidhazy’s video on the PCT. I lived in Aspen, CO, for 25 years and grew to like the outdoors, doing lots of skiing, on and off slope, climbing CO’s peaks over 14,000 ft elev, 10 more in CA, trekking in Nepal, rafting the Yukon for 5 weeks, and hiking parts of the PCT from Mexico to Canada , on and off the trail for 7 months with two llamas. A good portion of those adventures were solo. I learned early on that if I had to find someone who wanted to do these things, I wouldn’t have done even half. The more I did, the more confidence I gained, so when I found myself in Alaska and was offered a raft, free, in Dawson, Yukon, I didn’t hesitate about taking a totally unplanned trip alone down the Yukon. That adventure was over 30 years ago and seems like last summer when I think of it. And it isn’t just old age reminiscing. That caliber adventuring sticks with you. I will be 82 in just under a month. I admire your pursuits and wish you many more.

  4. Hamburger Helper

    What a sterling legacy you leave with family, friends, and we who have been enriched peripherally thru your messages. I wonder if you realize how useful you have served so many people. Thanks.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      This could be said of you, my honored friend. You have encouraged me and gave me the tools to teach survival to students over the past few years. You have challenged me to be passionate and determined in this life project. I thank you, Hamburger Helper. Hope you are well.

  5. Great post and warmed my heart that you have that time with your daughter. I’m hoping that in the years to come I too can share moments like these.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Thank you, Brian. Surprisingly, both times I hiked long term with my son and daughter as adults were successes. Funny, when I started the hikes I really thought we might at the most last at most a week hiking together. I was wrong.

      Teenagers can be real downers when forced to participate in outdoor activities. I say go away, make the best of it, and you will reap the benefits at a much later time.

  6. Inspirational. What a great post! I also resonate with the quote: “if you give yourself the option to quit, you will. So just don’t give yourself the option.” That’s something to think about no matter what one is trying to accomplish.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Sonja, Yes the lesson is important to remember in everything we do each day. Options are sometimes death and lead to either quitting or my personal enemy, procrastination. Mindset is huge. Thank you for your thoughts.

  7. Sandra Smith

    Thank you so much for your inspiration. The PCT has been my life’s dream and I promised myself I would be on the trail by 1950, except my family came first. Now I am alone but still hiking with my two partners (12yrs), I will turn a VERY YOUNG 77yrs. in March. Would like to do sections but cannot find anyone interested at my age, ha
    Maybe you would have some good advice

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Sandra, It sounds like you just might have some unfinished business. At 77 is a great time to start. I hiked the PCT during my summer breaks over 5 summers. Most of the miles I hike solo. Here is a good place to start in the planning or just dreaming process: http://ladyonarock.com/pacific-crest-trail-journal/ . Thank you for commenting and I wish you the very best.

  8. Rockin’:
    It’s always a warm fuzzy when our kids acknowledge the efforts we make as parents. We make them do things when they’re young and sometimes they surprise us with appreciation years down the road. Bryn’s letter is a perfect example. I hope Kathryn and I can meet all of your kids and grandkids sometime in Mammoth! (where we’ve been snowed in all week).
    Can’t wait to hear about your plans for 2017!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Hello again,
      What are your plans in 2017? Bali and….

      I think you just live at Mammoth. Happy digging.

      • Sorry for the double comment. I pushed the button for the first one and I got a notice that I wasn’t connected any more. So I sent a second…

        We actually bailed out of Mammoth today. The storm was still raging so we only got a few runs on Monday. We still had a great time hanging around the condo, XC skiing, bowling, shoveling snow and relaxing!

        Kathryn will be going to Bali again this year but I’ll take the year off. Our big adventure is Africa in June for Kathryn’s milestone birthday! You’ll have to ask her which one next time we get together.

        • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

          Africa! Can’t wait to hear about that huge adventure. I have a sneaky feeling that your wife and I are sharing the same milestone birthday this year. :0

  9. Rockin:
    A love of the outdoors is one of the best things you can share with your kids. The time away from work and other distractions is the best way to really get to know your kids and for them to see you as a person rather than a parent. We may drag them against their will at first but the shared adventures form a bond that cannot be broken. Kathryn and I are hoping to meet all of your kids and grandkids in Mammoth some day!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Boy howdy, you are so correct. It is so true when your children become adults you can let go and get to know them on another level. Doing an activity together is the ideal situation for that to happen naturally. I hope to meet your kids and now grandbaby someday. So jealous of your little set-up in Mammoth.

  10. Awesome…love it. You give me hope for my kids that I’ve “forced on hikes” 😉

    The girls are actually coming along in that department…maybe. 🙂

    Thanks for this great post.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Goal Tech! I was wondering if someone was going to catch that phrase, “forced on hikes”. It would just be plain embarrassing for me, to get my kids to get together and count how many of those “hikes” they went on. I of course, wanted a hike with my family every holiday I could think of that surrounded me…birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, I’m stressed out and need a hike day. You and I have talked about this before while hiking. My best advice is just go, but have good plans, gear, and food and just maybe someday if you are lucky they might start loving and really looking forward to the walk. In my case, I had to wait until they graduated from college. Ha! Have a good day.

  11. What a stunning and inspiring post! Such a great idea to hear this from the perspective of your daughter. What you said is so true – you just need to get out there. The start of a new year also means that I start planning trips for my husband and I. So looking forward to a year full of new adventures!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Jessie, I love your attitude and how you say “for my husband and I”. In my family, I am the planner and everyone seems to just go along and trust. I guess the trick is if you are the planner, don’t resent when others don’t go along with your great schemes and if you are not the planner, be grateful and enjoy the ride. Bryn ended up being grateful. I am blessed. Thank you for commenting and happy adventuring in 2017.

  12. “I would have to say that if you give yourself the option to quit, you will.” I agree. Having the energy and fortitude to keep going is what makes or breaks one.

    Rockin’, you’ve really inspired me too. I keep trying to get better and did accomplish not only the two longest hikes I’ve ever done this summer, but I also completed more miles this year than ever. Certainly you have played a part in that too. I remember when you fell down that snowy chute and how scary that was. Yet you just got up and carried on. Thanks for posting that because somehow it helped me and I do need that. Really I guess we all do.

    Congrats on not only being a super-hiker and a super-wife, but being a verified super-mom. May God bless you with an amazingly long and fulfilling outdoor life and may your family relationships continue to grow in a way that also fulfills the longings of your soul. Thank you so much for what you do.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Warren, You are an animal. It is so fun to look back on the year, smile, and move forward.

      You are more than kind. We all need a kick in the pants once in awhile. Life just gets too overwhelming. My mom died over the Christmas break and that really drove everything home for a solid boot and self-evaluation. One step at a time is all we need to do.

      So, do you have fun plans for the New Year? Once again, thank you for your insightful comments. You rock.

  13. Sniffer/Silky

    Dang! What a legacy passed from mother to daughter. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Sniffer,
      You are very welcome. I was pretty choked up when I read the letter the first time. So unexpected. Ya just never know when you slap a backpack on a young person whether they will hate or love you in the end.

  14. Wise words especially the “if you give yourself the option to quit, you will. So just don’t give yourself the option.”

    Such a terrific and inspirational family. Motivational? Hell yes!!!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Great to hear!!!! Like yourself, I like doing things a bit differently. I think Bryn got that. You don’t have to do a huge thru-hike or climb the highest peaks to be a success. It is the attitude, the hard work, and not giving into that inner voice that whispers, “Gee, this hurts, just quit.”

      Way way too many times have I wanted to stop, turn around and just call it good. Thank goodness, a small break and a nice snack does the trick to keep on pushing forward.

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