For three years, my Golden Retriever Grace and I traveled and spent 8-10 hours a day walking in the vast wilderness of the United States. I immersed myself in unnerving solitude. Stepping into the forest of perpetual unknowns heightens your senses. The dense forest nurtures a sense of claustrophobia inside you even though the woodland stretches unbroken for miles. There was no map for me to follow. Some days there was no sign of life anywhere – just the sounds of nature, my heartbeat, the pitter-patter of paws on the forest floor and my laboring breath to take me through.
The pain I felt on the trail, the tears I cried, the dark shadows I faced were some of the most difficult yet illuminating days of my life. With each trail head I got stronger and with each step of those 1,000 miles traveled I crushed the self doubt that had once consumed me.
I found something vital on my Wilderness Walk, I found me.
At the time, I did not understand how a walk in the woods would transform my life.