March 25th, 2017 ~ Day 365
The day has finally come! Today I get to complete this journey of hiking every day for 365 days!!! To celebrate, my wonderful amazing friends have created a Meetup event to celebrate all that I have accomplished. Trail Mix Hiking is a Meetup I joined a few years ago and they have been a huge part of my journey since that first hike I hiked with the group. I’m so grateful for all the friends I have met along the way.
In the last 365-days, I have hiked 1100 miles, 22 mountains, 133 different trails, in 45 cities and in 7 states. Even with those stats, I wish I could have done so much more!
Where has the time gone? Now that the end is here, it seems to have gone by so fast! I have been to so many amazing places and experienced some awesome adventures, such as Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon, Mt. Whitney and Cactus to Clouds, to name a few. Physically these were the hardest hikes for me on this journey.
I’ve met some great friends along the way, along with meeting my new granddaughter and my amazing boyfriend! I’ve manage to hike through this journey while losing my best friend Robin, my grandmother Elizabeth and my own mother Rebecca. Some of though toughest hikes were on those days. Dealing with loss is difficult, but using my hiking as healing, I have continued this journey and begun to heal.
For day 365 I chose to hike the Go John Trail in the Cave Creek Regional Park. Go John is the first trail I hiked almost four years ago, training for an adventure to come later that same year in Havasupai. This is the trail that truly began my love of hiking. Hiking this trail today means so much to me. Ending my 365-day journey where it all began and coming full circle on this adventure, has such meaning and purpose. The day couldn’t have been any better!
Our hike began heading east on the Go John Trail. We started at 3 p.m. and it was beautiful outside. Not too warm out, which is something I was afraid of, and we were blessed with a slight breeze for most of our adventure.
From the first moment we set foot on this trail, the views were amazing. The wild flowers in this park covered the landscape and were in full bloom! The skies were a bright blue and the clouds fluffy and white. It’s a beautiful day for a hike!
As we began heading north, we were greeted with brighter blue skies, white fluffy clouds and a valley of green. The cacti are in abundance to help make for the stunning views we were blessed to see. Noticing that on the north side of the mountain, there weren’t as many wild flowers, possibly because they have yet to bloom. I may have to come back here to see the beauty it has to offer in a couple weeks.
I don’t think I could ever get enough of this place. The views of the desert, if you could call it that (currently is doesn’t look like a desert), are so spectacular. If you have never been to one of the Maricopa Regional Parks, you need to go. I believe there are ten parks and they are all amazing, each with their own features.
As we hiked the trail, we were visited by many small white butterflies. My twelve-year-old daughter often tells me that when she sees a butterfly it means her daddy visiting from heaven. Her daddy, Jimmy, passed away only a year-and-a-half ago, and whenever I see a butterfly, I think of him. I have seen many butterflies as I hiked along my journey, wondering if he’s accompanied me along the way, but today, there were more butterflies than I have ever seen on the trails.
I found the meaning of a white butterfly online stating that… “butterflies generally represent souls, and white is the color for purity. In general terms, it’s simply a pure soul. If it visits you at an important moment in your life, it may represent a guardian spirit, ushering you along the path of life”.
How beautiful could that meaning be on a day like today? With the loss of so many loved ones that I’ve come to endure in the last year-and-a-half. I can’t help but think of the importance of this day, and how just maybe, my loved ones are here to join me on my final day of this journey.
We stopped after a few miles of hiking to take our group picture. With Trail Mix, we always do a group picture, it’s like a tradition. An amazing group of friends, new and old. I am truly blessed to have some amazing friends in this life who share the same passion as I do. Honestly, all the hikers I have ever met are truly amazing souls.
Hiking along the Go John Trail, after about four-and-a-half-miles we made our way to the Overton Trail. I happened to have hiked the Overton Trail on day 36 with Trail Mix, when this journey was in the beginning stages. The Overton Trail offers more stunning views of the Cave Creek Regional Park.
The last couple miles of our hike were on the Overton Trail. My journey would be coming to an end with this hike, and I was happy and sad in the same moment. I was happy to have completed my goal. I set out to do something and I completed it. No matter what the circumstance I had to endure, I was determined to accomplish my goal. I was feeling sad because my journey was ending. For the last year, this has been my life. Hiking daily has been my focus and it has become a part of me and who I am. Tomorrow, that all stops. Tomorrow I am choosing not to go hiking. That seems like such an odd thought now.
I was asked to wait a moment on the trail while everyone set up a tunnel to greet me for my final steps of my 1100 mile journey in 365 days! What an amazing feeling to have my friends here to support me. I truly am blessed! And now, my journey is over. I have hiked every day for 365 days!
After the hike, I was lucky enough to have a few more friends make it to the party. We had a wonderful potluck. Which after a six-and-a-half-mile hike, it’s always great to eat. I had made a slideshow of 400 of my favorite photos from this journey, and everyone sat down to watch my journey.
The bonfire had been started and Sabrina had brought marshmallows. With roasted Marsha-mallows, we enjoyed s’mores as we sat around the fire pit trying to avoid the smoke.
This day couldn’t have turned out more perfect! I was able to complete my 365th hike with some of the most amazing friends. I look forward to more adventures and who knows, maybe I’ll get the opportunity to hike 365 days once again.
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