I’m having a beautiful and relaxed afternoon at the bottom of Bryce Canyon. Having hiked a mile down, I’m now resting under a large pine tree. My boots and shoes are off, and I can feel the prickly pine needles tickling the soles of my feet while I drift lazily under the warm blanket of the sun.
I have been hiking for the first time in over 8 months. They have been short hikes, about 2-3 miles, and I need to rest a lot during and after, but I am hiking, doggone it, and that’s the important thing.
I know exercise is an important component of healing lyme disease, but it is so hard to do when you feel so damn tired ALL THE TIME. But there is something about being out in this beautiful landscape that is spurring me on little by little. Even though I am exhausted every step of the way, I find energy in knowing that I am doing something that I love. And most importantly, I am finding my own way to make it work.
Rob and I have come up with a system that allows us to (sort of) hike together. He sets the timer on his phone for 20 minutes and then walks ahead, while I go at my own pace (which is reeeeeallly slowly). At the end of the 20 minutes, he stops and waits for me. This seems to be working really well.
Fortunately, Rob also enjoys relaxing in one place for a while, so taking a break for an hour or two doesn’t pose a problem. We both have small roll-up chairs that we carry on our day packs (and I even bring a travel pillow!), so we can soak up the scenery in comfort.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from having lyme, it’s how to find my way through things. It may not be perfect or ideal, but it works. Some day I will (hopefully) be able to go for longer hikes and do all the other things that I love, but for now, I just have to modify things to meet my body’s needs. I’m hoping that this lesson of finding my own way is something that I carry with me, even once I am better.
To be honest, being in Bryce Canyon is amazing in any capacity. The landscape is strange and haunting, with giant pillars of rock standing guard like ancient elders, weathered and worn with the passage of time. Shades of dusty orange and creamy pink stand out under a cap of pristine white snow, and magnificent pines grow in wide, sloping swaths. It is a truly unique and captivating place, and healing for both body and soul.