Lay my Burdens Down

I woke up to a cool mountain breeze and Bubba the Cat purring next to me.

We’ve been parked at Green River Lakes, way off the grid, and the windows were open sending a fresh smell through the whole trailer. I scratched the top of Bubba’s head and rubbed my hand on his soft belly. Islay realized that I was awake and put her front paws up on the end of the bed and wagged her whole booty with joy.

I put on my old Patagonia green fleece and started to make coffee. While the water was boiling I sat at our little dinette and stared out at Squaretop Mountain. It’s the most interesting peak, it doesn’t look quite real in the hazy early morning light.

Coffee ready, I pulled out my Bible and read about Moses going up to a mountain top to speak with God. When God comes down and reveals himself, it’s always with mighty acts of creation: wind, storms, fire. I feel closer to Him when the wind blows and I can hear the trees rustling and cracking.

I watched the mosquitos pile up on the window. I laughed at the suckers not being able to get into my safe, warm trailer. Finished with my reading I layed out my yoga mat in our small space. When picking out a trailer I looked for a few random things: where Bubba’s litter box going to go, Islay’s house and room for my yoga. We found a trailer that has the perfect nooks for all of that.

I layed on my yoga mat and remembered how to breathe deep.  Funny how I have to remind myself of that every day. Yoga done, Andrew and I picked out a trail for the afternoon. We found a 13 mile roundtrip hike up to a mountain lake, perfect. We packed water and snacks and drove to the trailhead.

While hiking, I found myself breathing deep just like in my yoga session. Breathing in fresh pine sprigs, looking around at tall, tall Lodgepole Pines, noticing the thick royal green ground cover, the sound of trickling streams, Islay bounding around chasing butterflies. Layers of anxiety I didn’t even know about slid off my back with each step.

Around three miles in, the ascent got really hardcore. I looked at the trail ahead and it just went straight up. I gathered my will, settled into my breathing rhythm and forged ahead. I find when hiking, your brain rolls round and round; random memories pop up and pieces of song flutter in and out. We turn on a switchback and more up, endless ascent. The brain gives out way before the body does and I found myself fighting the urge to turn back or better yet, just sit down on the trail and set up camp for the night. Knowing that I would freeze to death during the night and run out of water, I kept going.

We came to a river crossing and the water was flowing fast and deep. Welp, we’ve come this far so we might as well keep going. We took off our shoes and socks and stepped into the river. It was so cold but the rocks were smooth. I was a little worried about Islay Blue but she jumped right in after me and swam against the current like a boss and pulled herself up on the opposite side. I was one proud puppy mama.

Two and a half hours into our hike we made our way up to the very top of the mountain to Shirley Lake. It was a crystal clear, secluded lake nestled up to snow capped peaks. I couldn’t resist and jumped in with abandon naked as a happy newborn. It was even colder than the river and it completely took my breath away; I felt 15 years younger. I squealed like a school girl and Islay Blue swam out to rescue me. We both stumbled to the shore and I felt such a swell of joy that I started laughing. I got my stuff and sat on a big, warm rock and ate ripe, deep red cherries, spitting the seeds into the lake.

You don’t realize that you’re holding on so tightly, that your jaw is clenched and your brain is overloaded until you get away, away from social media, away from the hustle of the city, the endless comparing and keepin’ up. You get away and hike a little bit more and jump in a mountain lake and breathe deep and lay those burdens, lay them down.

On the way back from our mountain top Andrew stopped to take a picture and I got on my hands and knees to smell a violet blue flower. Our God is so creative and detail oriented. It smelt so terribly sweet, another layer came off my shoulders.


Another two and a half hours and six and a half miles later, we made it back to the truck. We drove home, started a campfire, drank wine, cooked our burgers on the open fire and watched the sun set.

I slept so deep and so hard, with not even a dream to disturb my mind. I woke up refreshed the next day and ready to do it all over again.

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