**Misfit Showcase!** (megan_sykora)
I am a misfit hiker because I am fat, I am a woman, and I struggle with depression, anxiety, and ED.
The outdoors have been a part of my life since I was a kid, hiking and camping with my family. As I grew up, being outside became a challenge and a taunt, because I longed for an adventurous life that I believed (and was told) I was too fat to have. I never felt welcomed in the outdoor communities. This past year, however, I've become reinvigorated by many things - the fat liberation movement, friends and family, and the things that bring me joy, most notably hiking and biking. Being outside is a private time for me, when I contemplate and discuss things with myself, and when I am most free to feel joy. It is also where I feel most valid as a human being, equal to every other. We all have different physical abilities and different stories, but nature doesn't know or care. It is beauty and life, two things I'm trying to focus on most.- Megan (@megan_sykora)
Tag #misfithikers to be showcased!
[Image Description: Megan stands, wearing black leggings and salmon-colored shorts, with a black shirt and long-sleeved jacket. There's a cowboy hate on her head, and she dons sunglasses as she points to the sky. Her curly brown hair touches her shoulders. In the background is thick scrub, and dry grass and bushes lay all around her. The sky is blue with wisps of clouds.]
It was at West Branch State Park, which has two large loops. This is good for avoiding folks during the pandemic. I'll do a full review of the trail later, but it was a lovely one.
The first six or so miles followed closely to the reservoir, which was beautiful. This will sound weird, but I actually had a dream the previous week about hiking a longer trail. I hadn't planned to, I was going to stick to my normal 10 mile weekend one. But on Saturday morning, as I was driving to my normal loop, I went to put on the directions from All Trails and this one - literally across the street from the one I normally do - popped up. It said 11 miles and I figured, "PERFECT." Of COURSE with All Trails, I should of figured it would be longer.
Lucy and I even set up the camp stove for lunch at the turn around point. I wish I could say I sat there, looking out over the water, thinking deep thoughts, but truthfully I just pet Lulu, ate some food, and listened to my book on tape.
I didn't see anyone on the first leg, but I did on the second - two rabbit hunters running their dogs, who were in the wild life portion. The dogs eventually found us on the trail but were VERY nice. The second gentleman I encountered was also very nice - and carrying a pistol - which was a little unnerving.
I walked through the pines.
I walked through the trail that meandered up a creek bed.
I saw the view of the water and trees across the way.
I saw fields.
I saw many a fallen tree.
I saw the old rock wall in the quarry.
I heard the haunting sound of baying hounds as the wind carried it to me.
It was amazing.
I did it.
I didn't have anxiety about it.
And truthfully, while I was tired and ready for a real break, I wasn't exhausted. I even went out the next day for another hike on Easter.
My back held up.
Lucy held up.
We did it. It's taken a long time to get there, but we did it.
Even in dark times, there are spots of light.
What adventure did you get in to this weekend? Comment below or feel free to email me here!
"I grew up in Indianapolis in a neighborhood with lots of trees, a creek and neighborhood kids to ride bikes and explore with. I loved to be outside. Sometime in my teens my love for the outdoors got replaced with sitting on the phone talking for hours with friends instead of going for walks. Watching television all day instead of riding bikes. It only took 20 years to rediscover my love for the outdoors and my passion for hiking. And I’m elated that I did. Being outside reminds me that no matter how small or out of place I feel- I belong in this great big beautiful world." - Erikka (@yancypantz)
📍Rattlesnake Peak - This land traditionally held (past and present) in stewardship by the Tongva peoples.
📣Erikka would like to give a shout out to: @blackgirlstrekkin
[Image Description: Erikka stands, pointing at a triangular-shaped sign with the number 39 on it. She wears shades, a maroon jacket and eggplant colored leggings. She stands, with a big smile and one hand on her hip. The landscape is rocky, with blue skies and large white-capped mountains in the background.]