I heard the latin phrase “solvitur ambulantes” the other night and pure and simply it spoke to me.
In March of this year I took a short solo road trip to Death Valley National Park to witness and photograph the ‘super bloom’ that was painting the valley floor. I was inspired to go for a couple of reasons. The news that the bloom might not last much longer, the purchase of a new ‘road trip’ car and the viewing of a new film narrated by Robert Redford—”National Park Adventure“.
It was during this trip (my second to Death Valley) where something began to stir inside me, in particular the day I hiked alone into Golden Canyon, hearing whispered invitations to make my way up a few off-trail excursions. Finding myself sitting above the gulch, seeing and hearing no one, it was like no other experience. As I climbed in and out of these places, I could feel the stretch of my lips grinning from ear-to-ear. Pure bliss and contentment. The next day I hiked into and explored the painted landscape of Artist’s Palette. It was no longer enough to stand and ogle from the edge, I had to get in there. Walk on, over, across and through the purple, green, pink and salmon terrain. I would have rolled around in it if I could.
I don’t exactly remember now when my point of inspiration arrived about hiking my way to sixty, but I do believe it began with the Death Valley experience. In four days I hiked the equivalent of six hikes and did one other local to San Diego soon after my return home. This is all happening right before my 59th birthday in April and this idea wafted in about making sixty hikes during the next twelve months concluding on my sixtieth birthday.
Sixty hikes to 60 years. I settled on calling it my “Sixty60 Journey”. At first this was about taking a deliberate, intentional and embracing approach to a number that I quite frankly can’t wrap my head around. I wanted to be out in nature more. Backing up to 2012, there was one profound grief related event where I became quite an introspective and house-bound human, which started to change in 2014—more outwardly however than inwardly. All of my prior wants and desires had gone out the window with death and if anyone were to ask me what my goals were, or what I wanted out of life, I really couldn’t tell you anymore. Now, this urge to hike, to reconnect with nature, become a part of it, was all bubbling up from the inside, soul driven.
The first half dozen hikes were also revealing the effects of inertia—physically. I also suspect in the areas intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I currently have twelve official hikes under my soles and even in this short time have started to feel more connected. Dormant information, solutions, thoughts, dreams, desires are just beginning to come back to life. Every hike seems to connect a lost synapse.
I circle back to the latin phrase, “solvitur ambulantes,” solved by walking. When I heard that, I thought, this is exactly what I am doing. I’m hiking to realign with my purpose. To find my wandered-off wants and desires for the next chapter of my life’s journey, solving through the power of my own two legs and two feet in a good pair of hiking boots.
Lewis Carroll said “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Ain’t that the truth? Time to hit the trail and get solving…