Friday, July 25, 2008

A Vacation to Remember

About a month ago I wrote here about a vacation experience I had two years ago in a special forest. My family was hiking on a trail, and I was unable to keep up for even a few minutes:

"just a few minutes into the forest, my husband was getting ahead of me. He was carrying our baby with him. He got further and further ahead of me, and I was huffing and puffing along behind. I was nearly out of breath as I huffed out, "wait... wait for me..." as I stood bent over, hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath. But it was too late, they were gone. I could hear the faint laughter of my children up ahead, but I knew I was not going to catch up. My husband never looked back. I sat down on a log there in my sacred forest, and I cried. As the tears ran down my face, once again I whispered to the forest. "Please... please help me lose this weight. Please send me the strength and courage to do it. I so want my life to be different. Please... help me find a way." I sat in the silence and tried to make some kind of commitment to myself and draw strength from the solidity of the trees. I sat in the silence for a very long time, and then hiked back down to the car to wait for my family."

This year, I went back to that place with my children. I decided before we even left home that I was going to go back there, thank the forest, and *try* to hike further. It is a steep and winding dirt path through a thick lush forest, totalling 1.8 miles. It is rated "moderate to difficult" and ends at a lighthouse. I figured I would walk up with the kids until I hit my limit, make a mental note of how far I could go, and try again next year.

It started out easy enough. I got to the place where I had quit the last time... just 5 minutes into the trail. It was not even steep. I was in worse shape than I thought back then. After that, we started taking turns carrying the toddler and the mini-dog, since we didn't want them to get worn out. Soon, the path got twisty and steep:

It's not readily apparent from those pictures, but it was REALLY STEEP!! Steeper than a staircase. It was HARD WORK going up these paths, but I kept on going. In some places, there were only gnarled roots to climb up and down the trails. In other places, there were wooden "stairs," but they didn't make it much easier...

After an hour of walking with no end in sight, we were all wondering how much further this could POSSIBLY be. No signs, no people. Just tree after tree after tree. When we thought we had reached the top, suddenly the trail would plummet downwards again, and we would have to stagger down the hills, only to find another upturn and steep pathway. We often had to re-climb to heights we had already reached because of the frequent ups and downs of the trail. I was really tired but at the same time, energized. My kids kept saying, "here Mom, here's a place you can sit down." But instead, I kept going. Suddenly I knew I was going to make it all the way. I was excited. I would work as hard as I could to get there.

When we were very near the top, we reached a clearing. We looked out over the trees and gasped. We had climbed so high! We could look down on the forest canopy below and, off in the distance, see the vast blue ocean.

Amazing. We continued until we reached the summit. When I saw the sign and the rest room, I was ecstatic. I had really done it. My strength was real. I did it! We found a bench and some water for sale for $1. We sat and drank and the exhausted kids suddenly said, "hey, Mom, how are we gonna get back down to our car?" Ughhh!!!

Well it turns out there was a shuttle bus that took us back down to our car, thank goodness. I was seriously considering sleeping in the parking lot up there because there is no way any of us could hike back down. But the bus saved us.

We went back to our yurt. If you have never camped in a state park with yurts before, you are missing out. They are 16' round permanent tents on wooden frames, with locking doors, a space heater, and bunk beds. Very cool. You still have to walk to the campground bathroom, and you still get to cook outside over a fire, but when it rains it is so nice to be in a yurt.
Two of my munchkins by our yurt:

We spent lots of time down by the ocean, on the beach. We stayed at Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon (the hiking path was in Washington, across the border). On the beach is the wreck of the Peter Iredale, a ship that crashed there back in 1906.

One of my munchkins on the beach, and by the wreck:

There is also a nice lake at this park where the kids went fishing and swimming. That's two of them on the dock:

We all just had a grand time in the sun and sand:

And for my birthday, we stuck a candle into an Oreo Cakester. The kids sang to me, I blew out my candle, and we split this 125-calorie wonder among us all:

Blowing out one candle was appropriate. I am not just turning 39. I am turning one. One year into my new life. My good, real, healthy life. It's a whole new start for me. And even though I will have lots of ups and downs, ragged paths and steep trails along the way, I know I will reach the summit.

Life is good.


Once Upon A Dieter said...

This is one of my very favorite of your posts. Not just cause I love seeing the pics of things you've talked about, but because it's like a short story. The beginning, with difficulty and conflict, a problem. The desperate plea. The return and conquest. The denouement with the birthday cake and appropriate imagery of new life.

Girl, make it a short story! Sell it!

thank you for this...

The Princess

Twix said...

This is awesome! Now I want to visit and stay in a yurt! :D Happy Birthday to a whole new you!!

Martha said...

You should be so proud of yourself that even when you wander off this new lifestyle path you always get right back on. By taking good care of yourself you're also teaching your children to love themselves. Beautifully inspiring post.

Anonymous said...


Vickie said...

non-scale victories indeed.

new*me said...

You have got to be so proud of yourself for reaching the top. What an accomplishment and tangilbe proof that what you have been doing over the past year has improved the quality of life for your body AND soul!

I had never heard of a yurt but now I want to take my family and stay in one. I loved camping when I was a kid and that looks like so much fun. I had to laugh when you talked about carrying the "mini dog!"

God bless and happy birthday. I wish you many happy fullfilling birthdays in the coming years.

Sarah said...

You rock!

Katschi said...

Happy Birthday to the one year old you!
So your journey DID start with the single step. What a view at the end of the hike! I love being in nature (as long as there's a bathroom close by) I've heard of yurts but had never seen Mini-dog looks cute on the 'porch'.
I had tears when you talked about your prayer in the forest (I had tears the first time you posted this, too) Such an open-hearted plea.
Is that you in the last picture? You look really slim!

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Absolutely fantastic. This is such a great follow up to that previous post. Congratulations, and Happy Birthday :)

Lyn said...


Yes, that's me in the last picture with my toddler and mini dog. My son took that picture just as my daughter was looking down and commenting on something in the sand, so I looked down too. When I saw the picture (with no faces!) I thought, "oh, that's perfect for my blog!"

Now you guys can't say I always cut the heads off my pics. LOL.

Ceres said...

Oh Lyn, your vacation sounds great, and I can't even imagine the feeling of pride and accomplishment you must have felt at the end of the hike! Way to go!!

Arachne said...

Lyn, this post made me cry. You are a rockstar! Peace. --ANN

Arachne said...

I agree, Lyn, SELL IT. Your writings help so many people. Expand the market. It would be a best seller. I would buy it Lyn! And then you would have lots of money for that smokin' hot new wardrobe you are going to need!

ryry the adventurous said...

What a fantastic story, and I am SO HAPPY you got to the top!! What a beautiful place to spend a vacation. And Happy Birthday!!

PamW said...

There is point in the Smoky Mountains called Clingmans Dome which is the highest point in Tennessee. I went there once, years ago and thought I would have a heart attack before I reached to top. You inspire me to adjust my goal to not only include weight lost, but the strength to go back there. You are amazing, keep up the great work.

Dinah Soar said...

The yurts look wonderful...wish we had them in the parks around here..but we don't. Your vacation sounds wonderful.

And I think it's awesome you haven't put your life on hold because of the problem with your husband! That, my dear, takes courage and fortitude....which you seem to have plenty of!

This post touched me...I was cheering for you and so happy you made it to the top!!'s wonderful you are celebrating the first year of your new life...You are young!!! The best is yet to be! Thank God you didn't wait until it was so late...or worse, too late.

Your whispered prayer to the forest was came. God says "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." You called, He answered!

MizFit said...

from a woman who just turned 39 a week ago.

the turning ONE is a POWERFUL idea...


ptg said...

I am so incredibly proud for you as you triumphed...happy birthday to a whole new you!

MB said...

I want to camp in a yurt. I've only seen lean-tos here on the east coast.

Congrats on reaching the summit. Happy Birthday!

nmburleson said...

Wow what an inspiring story! You go! Happy Birthday. :)

->cara said...

You have such an inspiring story. I'm so glad I found your blog.

I can identify so splendidly with every story you tell. I started out at 275 lbs 15 months ago. I'm now down 86 pounds and I, too, feel like I have an entirely new life this year. When I read your stories, I feel like I'm reading my own life and the same challenges I went through too. But I could never post so eloquent as you do.

Those photos were amazing. And the story you told about the pathway was just captivating. I could feel myself going through that exact same thing.

thanks for the inspiration.

and happy birthday!!

Katschi said...

Consider yourself kicked, but lightly, and with love.
Bad night eating? Bored? Lonely? Angry? Remember your post about strength? Read it again, ok?

MY dinner included 2 packs of goldfish, licorice, mini reese's pieces & 2 icy chocolates. So NOT inspiring! I better blog it. It's so dishonest not to.

You can email me anytime, Lyn.
Right now it's almost 11:30 & I have to get to bed, though.
Please put down any food you have in your hand & then lift up either your left or right leg behind you & give yourself a boot in the butt :) That would be from me!

Anonymous said...

WOW! I love reading your posts & I really can't say it enough... you are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for taking us with you through out your journey.

And Happy Birthday, Lyn! I wish you all the health and happiness in the world. =)

Jeff M said...

This kind of post is what blogs are for. Great job. I can relate to most everything you are going through; it's tough losing weight. I lost about 90 lbs about 10 year's ago, mostly by running every night. But alas, it has returned, and running isn't as enjoyable as it once was. But I push through and do what I can. But now I live in Kansas City and the BBQ is hard to resist! Good luck to you!