buffalo river trail

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last friday morning, matt and i embarked on the hiking adventure of a lifetime. well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a big deal to us. a couple months ago, we decided to hike the 37 mile buffalo river trail from boxley to pruitt. it was four days and three nights of grueling outdoorsiness. we were super excited for the challenge and change of scenery. what we didn’t know was how bleeping hard this trail is.

our backpacks were crazy heavy. mine weighed about 30 pounds and matt’s was probably closer to 50. we carried those things up and down some serious terrain. parts of the trail were so steep, it almost felt like we were going straight up. but climbing up was so much easier than going down. the trail would sometimes skirt the side of the bluffs and if you had one false step, you were going to plummet to your death. but the vistas at the top made the climb worth it, and the beautiful streams and rivers at the bottom made the trek down worth it.

the scenery was ever changing as was the weather. the nights were bitter cold. we’d make camp at the top of the bluffs and the wind would whip through and we’d sleep curled up in little balls inside our mummy bags. i also use the word ‘sleep’ lightly. i typically hovered between slumber and wakefulness all night as i tossed and turned trying to find a spot between the rocks and roots that poked out of the ground. it rained on us, it sleeted on us, and a couple afternoons were hot and sunny.

along the way we saw few hikers, and no one doing the entire trail. one guy was hiking in a ralph lauren plaid button down. i thought that was funny. and we found some abandoned articles of clothing, like a knit hat, pair of jeans, and a bath towel. but we saw deer, elk, and had animals sniffing our tent at night. we both got tick bites and were attacked by a family of red wasps.

my phone died at about 4:30 on friday so i only got a few shots of the trail. but matt brought the camera and we took loads of video and will be producing a wee documentary of our trip. i’m really excited about this part. i’ve been journaling our experience and that has been a great thing for me.

we’ve never done anything like this before. it was the hardest thing i’ve ever done and i’ve given birth and ran five marathons. but i learned so much about myself. i’m stronger than i thought i was, both mentally and physically. i learned that God is faithful and creative and loving and gracious in a much more real and tangible way than i ever knew before. learned that there is no one i’d rather do a hike like that with than matt, and there is no one i’d rather do life with than matt. it was a totally different bonding experience for us. we leaned on each other, looked to the other for help and encouragement. matt is such a fantastic leader and protector. i fell in love with him in a deeper way this weekend. a way that had very little to do with romance, but one that is far more intimate.

this wasn’t a ‘fun’ trip. but it was still a life-changing event. it was enjoyable and satisfying and beautiful and terrifying and soul searching. i really loved it.

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