Chapter 25


I really missed hiking. It was a ritual that rejuvenated my mind, body and soul. It was a

way to let go of my responsibilities, there was nothing to do except let the calm of nature

become a part of me and me a part of it. There’s nothing to do except inhale the pure sweet

smell of untouched landscapes of prairies, the woods, and even dirt. There’s nothing to do

except feel the touch of earth below your feet. Oh how I missed that.


Not far from the lab is beautiful hiking area called Indian Lake. Prior to my introduction to

disability I had hiked each and every trail, but I gave up ever hiking there or any other

place again. I was definitely thrilled my abilities were getting better and better yet I held

an untold fear that I wouldn’t ever be the same again. This was a fear that seeped into

hiking ever changing and uneven terrains that it was over. Yet, getting better and better at

what I could do introduced a revived feeling of deep down confidence I hadn’t felt in years.

It said, get back out there, to use the residual workouts to take a trek no matter what

happens, no matter if I fell down. I had to be brave.
I told to Mitch and Yuri that I was going to Indian Lake for a hike. Both tried to talk me

out of it. I stood tall with reappeared confidence and told them they couldn’t stop me. I left

the building and with a deep breath, got in my car and left. I was going to take my first

steps into proving to myself the promise of confidence would see me through my-self

designed challenge.


I won’t lie, the drive on winding back roads to my expedition was frightening, but I didn’t

care. I released that fright and focused on what was waiting for me. I allowed myself to

embrace the feel of freedom. As I parked in the lot I looked out the windshield and saw my

future ahead. I stepped out of my car and placed my footprint onto the earth beneath my

feet, feeling the surroundings that suddenly meant so much more. Tears of magnificent joy

rolled down my cheeks as the sight of freedom overwhelmed me; I was looking into the

eyes of God’s creation.
The trail I chose was a grassy path. It began flat, like a sidewalk. I took my time and

stopped along the way saying hello to trees I passed countless times before. I strolled past

a lake where ducks swam leaving a trail of ripples dancing on the water. The trail turned

left where on both sides prairies of tall green grass and wildflowers danced in the warm

breeze and upon my skin. I still feel that touch.


Beyond the prairie stood a dense line of trees, their leaves waving in a friendly motion to

come on in. It was their invitation to step into the beauty of trees standing tall amid

blankets of gentle ferns covering the earth and offspring of mighty oaks, maples, and birch

stretched to reach the sky.


The trail curved past a grandfather oak I always admired for its majestic strength and

valor. It is the landmark for the trail to work its way uphill. I paused to view its marker as I

remembered the very first time I followed its direction. It was then I realized I was given a

second chance at one of the many first times again. I walked up the hill where at the top I

turned to see grandfather oak looking back. I was home.


The uneven dips and bumps of the trail challenged me beyond words. I wobbled A LOT yet

managed to move on and stay upright. I faced my fear and chose to continue rather than

stop in defeat. I paused often to reset my bravery standing amid memories of a long ago

thrill. I was overwhelmed with life breathing emotions that to this day dance in my heart.


Every turn, every hill, every place welcomed me, I welcomed it. The further I traveled the

braver I became. Reaching the end of the trail I knew I had reached the end of my fear. I

really was home.

About Cheryl Schiltz Photography

Thank you for visiting, I hope you are enjoying my photography. I've happily been a photographer for over 25 years making it a passion of mine. My work has been inspired by places near and far, those I never thought I'd visit and by the work of others I so very much respect from whom I've learned so much. The vibrant colors of the outdoors take me home and when they stand still just long enough for me to admire and capture them in landscapes, forests, flowers, all things our beautiful world holds, I find myself complete. I hope you enjoy my work and give my page a like. I'd love to see you here.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Braver

  1. Debra says:

    Your words and perseverance are just such an encouraging story of healing!!

  2. I love what you wrote. I had the same feelings when I camped at Mirror Lake State Park in the accessible cabin. It changed me, in a VERY GOOD WAY.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s