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Canyonlands National Park, The Needles District, UT

Good morning, beautiful world. I am excited today, as it is a meaningful day for me.

I am returning to Canyonland, to The Needle District.

When I left this park last year, I knew I needed to return and redo the hike that terrified me. (You can read about it on page 95 of my book) Never before in my life have I been so afraid on a hike. I am not sure exactly why, but some of it was my concern for mountain lions.

I am not afraid of death. After all, it's a part of life. I just don't want the last five minutes of my life to be torturous.

As I leave Monticello the sun highlights the valley before me, breaking through the heavy clouds and creating a halo, giving the whole valley a feeling of goodness. It takes my breath away and fills me with great appreciation for life.

Ten minutes later, I enter the magnificent landscape of Canyonlands and am full of gratitude.

I am so emotional from this whole experience of beauty. I raise my eyes to the sky to thank God and the universe for the beauty in my life.

"Thank you, God, for putting me on this path. Thank you for all the love in my life. Thank you for the courage to be me. Thank you for my humble life and the success that comes with it."

First, I have a mission I need to take care of right away. I need to find a campsite for the next two nights. Loop A is a first-come, first-served campground. Check-out time is 10 a.m. I arrive at 8:15 a.m. to see who is leaving this morning. It is funny that site number two, the one I stayed at last year, is available for me to take over. Leslie from San Diego is about to leave, and I can take over. Mission complete.

By nine, I am on the trail to redo Squaw Canyon Trail. I take my time hiking, not rushing, taking in every detail that I missed last time.

The silence here is pure. Even though the parking lot is almost full now, the trail belongs to me, just the way I like it. I wrap my arch and ankle to alleviate the pain in my foot. I have eight miles ahead of me.

It is a beautiful day. The sky is light blue with a few clouds floating. The sun is intense, lighting my way.

I still cannot understand the fear that gripped my heart last year. Even more, I don't understand how I kept going. Most of my body was screaming at me to turn around and go back. I am a cautious person, and I don't do things just for the heck of it. Obviously, something else that day made me continue hiking with so much fear holding me.

Until now, I have been by myself, and it is important to me. After three and a half miles, the climb up the surface of the rocks begins. That's where I started to calm down a bit last year. There is something about giant rocks that penetrates my soul and relaxes me.

I am joined by another hiker, Mary Beth, from Oregon. We chat for a bit as we make our way to the top.

This hike is absolutely stunning!

I am about to get to that section that puzzled me last year. How am I supposed to do this? There's a wide gap between the rocks that requires me to jump to the next section. I know I did it last year, and I will do it again. Jumping over the gap is a piece of cake this time. It isn't as intimidating as last year, probably because I am prepared for it.

This hike is a fun playground. Let me bring out the little girl who loves to climb. The climb up the surface of the rock feels like a giant puzzle. I love how my brain, imagination, and creativity help me solve this maze.

I say goodbye to Mary Beth, as I want and need to sit by myself in this incredible place. I am taking every inch into my memory, searing every nook and cranny to remember forever.

At the end of the hike, there is a climb that immensely challenged me last year. I am missing six inches of height for this climb. Last year, I almost ended up falling backward. There are rocks and wood branches to help reach the next step, but not enough for me. I added two more rocks to give me a safe climb. Perfect! Problems create solutions!

I am back at my site, relaxing in the early evening landscape. Two hikers are coming in my direction. They look lost to me. I ask them if they are lost and need any help. Susanne and Eric are from Vancouver. 

No, they are not lost. They are walking to their camper to find a place to camp for the night. At this time of the day, the only chance is outside the park on a BLM campground. But they are low on gas and have another few days to spend in this park (The Needle District is a remote area. The nearest gas station is an hour away.)

I offer Susanne and Eric to join me if they can fit their camper into my small site. They are excited and relieved.

They return with big smiles as they find what happens next funny. When they get to their camper, they bump into Mary Beth. They mention my name and where they are heading. Later in the evening, Mary Beth and her husband Mike come to say hello.

It is the beautiful people who enter my life who make my journey meaningful and wonderful. I am grateful for each soul that brings their beauty into mine.

It is great sitting around the fire with Susanne and Eric. Thank you, guys, for the delicious ice cream. We are having a wonderful conversation about the need for peace and all the things that we are simultaneously passionate about and so frustrated about.

When Susanne and Eric retreat to their camper, I sit quietly in the silence of the night, looking up at the magical moon and the floating stars.

Life is a precious gift!

Waking up to witness the beginning of the day always feels like a pure blessing. Susanne and Eric are still sleeping. I love my early, silent mornings. I take my time to stretch my legs and my body so I can hike the Chester Park Viewpoint Trail today.

Chester Park Viewpoint Trail is another iconic trail in this park. It is a six-mile out-and-back trail. You can make a longer loop, but I need to pace myself. I am in pain. I know I need to rest...

Again, I am speechless!

The colors here are soft and earthy. The giant rock formations don't have much texture, but they have a silky smoothness that creates a beautiful balance between the earthy tone and the blue sky.

I feel so alive and pure in my being. I am mindful of my present moment and appreciate every second of it.

So, I do know how to live in the moment!

What a blessing to be touched by nature. It is a blessing to let nature clean your soul and renew your spirit. This place is out of this world! There is something so special about this place that steals my heart in the most beautiful way.

On my way back, I bump into Susanne and Eric. They invited me to visit them later tonight at the campsite.

By three in the afternoon, I am back at my site. I want to take advantage of the sun and charge my power stations with my solar panels. I also want to take a shower, so I put my faucet in the sun to let it warm for a bit and set up my shower tent. It was not a hot shower, but I am clean and refreshed.

After dinner, I drive to say hi to Susanne and Eric. I hope for more ice cream. :) They are not back yet, so I leave a goodbye note.

My site nestles underneath a big rock formation. I decided to climb and explore it. Now, that's a front-row seat that is worth everything! I take my shoes off, letting the coolness of the rock energize my peaceful being.

Suddenly, two bikers entered my site. Susanne and Eric come to say goodbye. How sweet! They give me an invitation to visit if I ever go back to Vancouver.

If anything, the last two days proved to me again that I belong in the wild! That is where my soul, mind, and body are one.

My book - I AM!: A Self-healing and Self-discovery Journey through Fear and Friendships. Available on Amazon

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