Up until recently, I didn’t know that my weekends were mostly designed to recover. What that meant was that Jeremy and I would typically pick one activity to do during the weekend; go to a museum, check out a comedy show, take a walk on the canals, or go out for dinner. Most nights we chilled on the couch, watched movies or one of the TV series we enjoy. It felt like work to get out, fight traffic, find an opening at a restaurant that we hadn’t booked in advance. During the daytime we caught up on things we didn’t have time to do during the week, got in a workout on the Peloton, and sat in the backyard and took a jacuzzi. I was content with it, while Jeremy often told me he felt trapped or uninspired. That is, until I realized in the life design process, that this was what it looks like to be in recovery.
After leaving Harold Miller State Park we drove to Mount Rainier for our first weekend in Baby (Our first non-music festival weekend, that is!) During this part of the experiment we wanted to explore what it might look like to assess what the three weekend days and nights felt like to us. Were they different from what I had experienced in recovery-mode at home?
Our camping spot for the weekend was at Horse Camp about eight miles away from the entrance to the National Park. Located off a two lane highway, we drove into a beautiful wooded locale with plenty of open spaces for Baby to choose from. While there were no hookups (no water, sewage or electricity), it was the weekend and we were excited to be in a more remote, unpopulated area. We were content to use our generator and use the water supply that Baby is equipped with for times like this. The RV site was large, and as we pulled into the spot in this beautiful wooded locale it felt like we had struck campsite gold.
After a workout with my trainer in the trees on Friday night, we set out to do a short hike near the Visitor Center. The field was covered in grasses and moss in what felt like one hundred shades of green. In the meadow wildflowers were everywhere, purples, pinks, golds, white and reds. And we were able to stop and take a few minutes to listen to the rushing of the glacial water making its way down the mountain. We stopped at a small grocery store after the hike to get a few items and prepared pasta bolognese for two inside Baby, and took a late night drive after dinner to hunt for wifi a mile up the roadso that we could download an episode of Love Island before bed!
What made the weekend feel especially spacious was that we didn’t have a particular agenda on Saturday morning. We woke up late to light rain and an overcast sky and I spent some time writing in my journal before we decided to head into the park to find a local place to eat brunch. The weather had not cleared after we ate and while we were disappointed we might not actually see Mount Rainier, we decided to embark on a hiking trail we saw across from the reflection pool which was our first stop. (which was, obviously, not reflecting!) We let go of what we had hoped the weather would be. This turned out to be an incredible blessing.
The Pinnacle Peak Trail was a little more than a five mile up and back trail with 1050 elevation. As we headed up I remembered just a year before where I was unable, due to my skiing accident, to walk more than a mile or so. Each step felt like a miracle to me as we ascended the steep climb to the 5,920-foot saddle where the trail would end, the wind and the rain invisible to us as we took in the majestic beauty of the greenery, the mosses, and the wildflowers that were everywhere. Once we reached the saddle, the official end of the hike, Jeremy wanted to tackle a piece to the North which involved some bouldering and I agreed, feeling confident. We could almost see what seemed to be the top. Each step up the steep slope had to be intentional as the surface was nothing now but loose rock and snow, and as I continued to grab for Jeremy’s outstretched hand, I could not help but think of how he had been, has been, my rock. And while we were a few feet from the top, I knew it was time to turn back so we decided to explore the views from the meadow below.
As we walked easily on the flats, we saw the shadows through the clouds of Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens, and Oregon’s Mount Hood on the horizon. We snapped pictures amidst the patches of snow, the wind blustering, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, the sun broke through the cloud cover and a bright shard of light showed itself.
Jeremy saw her first — the incredible Mount Rainier. Some part of me had known that if we let go of the attachment we had for what we hoped the weekend and the weather would be, she would show herself to us. And, she did.
We both yelped at the same time, “There she is, there she is.” “I knew this would happen,” I repeated again and again.
By the time we finished the hike it was near dinner time but the light was still bright so we hit the Visitor Center for hot chocolate with whipped cream, enjoyed the internet for a little bit, and spent Saturday night eating leftover pasta.
Sunday we left Horse Camp early, and spent the day exploring an adorable town in Washington near Tacoma called Gig Harbor, becoming one of those people who park their motorhome in a Costco parking lot! We ate lunch in an adorable waterside cafe, chatted to an older couple who had moved to Gig Harbor from Seattle. On the ride towards our next destination, The Hoh Rainforest, I felt refreshed. Excited for the upcoming week. I wondered what had been different this weekend? At home that one activity was all I had room for.
I realized that when I am spending time simply being, and doing things that most align with my essential self, time flies. I felt rested, even during the work week. I didn’t need to recover, per se, on the weekend. When my experiences are in nature, new and novel and when I am connected and making connections, I feel energized and alive.
Now, all we have to figure out is how to handle that ongoing clutter problem. 🙂