I spent a large part of last weekend feeling like a drunken zombie. It was a gorgeous day Saturday: birds tweeting in the trees, warm, gentle breeze, sun high and bright and not a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get out and enjoy it. Though I love hiking and am finding myself ever more deeply drawn to it, I also have adrenal fatigue. Stress of any kind will send me cascading face first onto my bed. The other side of the coin? Occasionally I can’t sleep, which leads to next to no energy the following day. Not fun. I had planned to go hike the Big Tesuque trail on Saturday – finally. My body had other plans. I barely made it to the end of my road for Hobbit’s potty break.
Poor Hobbs. Hiking keeps us both sane. I always know when I haven’t been getting him out often enough. My living room furniture gets liberally marked and I have pee to clean. Thankfully, since we’ve moved to our. new place, getting out for sufficient exercise isn’t a problem most days. Hobbit can handle a day or two of hike skipping.
Our daily hikes aren’t exactly proper hikes; they’re mostly walking along relatively easy, smooth-ish dirt paths near our house. These paths can lead to some amazing views; one goes on forever if you follow the right path. We generally never walk more than 45 minutes in the morning. Most days, Jackson, my son’s twelve year old, twelve pound chimeranian (chihuahua x pomeranian) comes with us, guaranteeing we can’t go very far since he often has breathing trouble and isn’t used to that much exertion. And then there’s that thing called work I have to get to. If I could, I would do nothing more than hike with my dogs, come home and write about our adventures – and somehow manage to get paid enough to make my monthly expenses. Dream job! But for now, I do other stuff to earn the dog food, carrots, sunflower seeds and spring greens that make up so much of my monthly necessities. We do what we must while moving towards that which we love.
The adrenal fatigue I spoke of earlier can be a challenge. Still, I push myself in spite of fatigue, though not enough to do myself damage. Usually, I just end up a little extra tired. One day of poor sleep, though and it’ll throw me off for many days afterwards. I deal with it and explore the edges of my limitations, finding places I can push the boundaries a little further than before. I’m used to having endless energy; getting used to limits on my energy is a new thing. I used to get frustrated, now I find it fascinating. I’m in a new container, albeit a temporary one. Eventually I’ll heal. In the meantime, what am I able to do within the confines of this new container? What comes after the healing? How much hiking can I sanely do and remain functional?
There’s always the wisdom of the body: I may think I’m fine to do a lot more than my body agrees to. That’s when my muscles get weak, my speech slurs and my brain fogs up. That’s when things requiring fine motor skills or quick reflexes don’t get done. Heck, sometimes, that’s when just walking may not get done. Ah, well! But still I hike and will continue to do so. My sanity and that of my doggos (I have two; will talk about Lily Bean another time) depends on getting on the trail regularly. To us, my energy evaporating at a moment’s notice on the trail is worth the risk.