I had never considered myself to be an outdoorsy person or an adrenaline junkie. Most of my choices revolved around “playing it safe”; I rarely took any risks and everything scared me to death.
My fiancé is a Marine Corps veteran. On top of that he is a born adrenaline junkie. When he asked me to go on a backpacking trip my first thoughts jumped to the worst scenarios. What if we got lost? What if we didn’t make it? What if we got eaten by a pack of coyotes? No cell phone reception, no Wi-Fi, no Snapchat or Instagram? These are real concerns, people!
Putting my fears aside, we stuffed our packs and headed for Mammoth Mountain. Just my fiancé, our dog Diesel and myself. After doing some research we decided to go on the Minaret Lake Trail which starts at the Mammoth Mountain Resort.
Within the first mile of hiking, one of my fears had become true: we came face to face with a grown black bear. All the “WHAT IFS” started going through my mind again. Did I just make the biggest mistake in my life by going into the wild? Should we turn around and run back? Luckily, the bear was even more scared of us than we were of him and decided not to eat us. After gathering ourselves and making sure we didn’t need a change of underwear, we marched on until the sun went down.
Along the way something started to change in me. I didn’t think of this hike anymore as me VS nature. I started to think of it as me AND nature. I was becoming a part of it. As we were hiking through the trail, drinking filtered creek water and enjoying the peace and quiet of the wild, I couldn’t get enough of it. Forgetting about the noise of work life, the constant urge to check social media, and the drama on cable TV. Just breathing the fresh air and enjoying the phenomena of the physical world in all its stunning beauty.
In that moment I truly felt inspired by the undisturbed calmness of the great outdoors.
Say it with me, AHHHHHH…
After spending a few of the best days of my life trekking through the Minaret Lake trail, we made our way back to the car. We were tired, sleep deprived, and we hadn’t showered in days. As we got on the packed bus that would take us back to the base, we were greeted by nods and tired faces of fellow backpackers. We turned to our neighbors with an apologetic look and said “Sorry, if we smell. We’ve been out there for a few days.” To my surprise our fellow adventurists replied, “No worries, us too. We’ve been out there for a week.” At that moment, I realized that I had crossed over and unknowingly joined a new group of people- the adventurists.
A spark for adventure had ignited inside of me; I now felt a strong desire to live life to the fullest and I couldn’t get enough of it. I started to spend my free time re-searching places to go explore. I would see a picture of an insane mountain or a turquoise blue beach and I couldn’t wait to get there. I visited 8 different countries that year, went bungee jumping, white water rafting and even swam with the sharks. I was on fire and I felt unstoppable.
It’s hard to imagine that such a spontaneous weekend backpacking trip has inspired so much change within me. Before this trip I didn’t really have many identifiable passions, but I also didn’t realize how much I was missing out on by playing it safe. I now understand how important it is to venture to the unknown and escape your comfort zone. You never know where you’ll find your life’s calling.
Do YOU have a moment that changed your life? What is your story? We would love to hear all about it and share it with the world.
Written by Laura Sausina.