This last week I had the opportunity to travel with an amazingly dear friend of mine, Hannah. Hannah runs a beautiful travel blog and is a photographer, and an all-around fantastic person, who I truly feel was a bestie of mine in a past life. The trip was scheduled for about 5 days, and we were to stay in Lake Placid, NY. When I initially received the text asking if I would go, my initial reaction was "HELL YES! Where do I sign on the dotted line, and when are we leaving?" Hannah explained the trip to me in more detail, and I was genuinely excited. The outline of the trip mostly entailed visiting hot spots in Lake Placid that included but were not limited to, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.
We packed ourselves into the vehicle to drive over to NY just as the sun was rising. Hannah is an early riser, and I love that it pushes me to get up and get moving. Coffee first, rad tunes, authentic conversation, and I was one happy chick. Not to mention my mom, who is a raw food chef, packed us a plethora of goodies to keep us energized (thank goodness for her! Check out her page here). Plus, it's nice going on adventures with someone who you know is like you, and doesn't take too much to please, because knowing that the air between you is sweet and comforting is all that it takes to ensure happy travels are abroad.
The first day that we got there, the sun was shining, Lake Placid welcomed us with open arms, and we took all of her beauty. We were nestled around a beautiful little body of water called mirror lake, which indeed was like a glass mirror when standing still. It reflected the glory of surrounding mountains and fluffy white clouds. It was truly picturesque, and being surrounded by so much nature gives one a sense of grounding. It's like our bodies know that we are home when we immerse ourselves in the most natural habitats. We got to enjoy a beautiful dinner overlooking the lake and went to bed nice and early to prepare for the mornings climb that would change my outlook on this whole trip.
So here we were at 6; prepping to climb Mt Van Hoevenberg. This mountain is 892 ft in elevation. Now you have to understand, Hannah is a seasoned climber. She does this fucking shit in her sleep. Not lil ole me guys. I'm the sipping Margs by the pool, vacation type chick. Don't get me wrong, I love being active and I love hiking, but this was a step up in the level of hiking that I have previously done. So I guess I was a tad intimidated. I might not have shown it at the time, because my level of anxiety most definitely displayed itself as excitement. I was excited about the goal, but I wasn't prepared for the journey. I suppose I've always been that way though, love the destination, not the journey.
We drove to the base where we parked the car and traveled into the opening that would be the climb that quite possibly would break me. The trek in was great, beautiful scenery, lush forests of fern, sunlight stippling through the breaks in the trees, I was thinking "this is going to be a piece of cake," we were gradually going to climb to the top right? No, just no. I mean, go ahead and laugh if you are a seasoned hiker but let me remind you once again that this big butt has not had the proper amount of training or exercise since giving birth to my child a mere 3 years ago. So basically 8 trillion years ago. We looped around a little pond which brought us to the climbing point. The hill went upwards, and you could see that it was pretty much a straight climb.
I definitely became a little concerned about a quarter of the way up the mountain. I was already feeling like I was out of breath, and quite frankly incapable. Hannah was super sweet about telling me that if I needed to stop, I could, which made me feel great, but truthfully no part of me wanted to hold her back. Did I mention she was carrying a hiking pack on her back as well? It had outfit changes, water, two cameras, and some other hiking essentials. I would have died. Props to Han, also thanks for just carrying everything and not even blinking an eye about it. After the second time, I had to stop she kindly asked if she could go ahead because the climb was getting steeper and if you hike, you know that if you stop, you kind of lose your momentum and then the rise starts to get harder.
Mindset is huge here, folks. This was literally a turning point for me. I wasn't afraid to be left behind, but I was definitely fearful of failing. If I couldn't change my mindset, gather my breathing, and push forward, I wasn't going to make it. Only about a million things went through my head at this point. "What was I doing?" "Why was I climbing a fucking mountain?" "Why did I let my dumb ass get so out of shape?" "Who do I even think I am right now?" This thought process was SO destructive, and there is nothing about this way of thinking that leads to any type of positive outcome. In an instant, I had to reach deep down inside me and let go of my EGO. I had to remind myself that sometimes slow and steady wins the race, that it's okay that I'm struggling because I'm here now and I'm making changes. I had to remind myself that flowers do not grow without first having to push through the pressure of the rocky, cold hard earth.
Then and there, I was the flower. I don't care how woo-woo this sounds or how lame you may think this is because in a split second I discovered that I could choose love over fear and nourish my mind so that I could bring this hike to completion. I took each step with gratitude and thanked my body for pushing forward, for carrying me one step closer to the top with each stride. And then I heard her. "You're so close to the top! You're almost there!" This girl had made it there and was rooting me on while I pushed through. Sure, I had changed my mindset, and I was determined to make it through, but that last bit of encouragement sent me over the top. I scurried through a row of trees on each side of me and made way to a small clearing which opened up to the most beautiful view I would have experienced in a long time.
Then, the waterworks started. Thank God, my friends are understanding of emotions and powerful feelings. I wasn't sad. I wasn't even really bawling, but my eyes definitely filled with tears and I could just feel this huge weight lift off of me, and this rush of negative energy leave my body. I fucking did it. I don't even care if its an easy feat for some of you, it wasn't for me. It wasn't easy emotionally or physically, but I freaking killed it. I spend a lot of my time with thoughts running through my mind that aren't always comfortable. There is an insane amount of anxiety and self-doubt that is continually hanging out, but this experience removed all of that.
I didn't just realize that I was capable of so many things after this climb, I realized what I needed to start doing to make sure that I could retain these positive emotions and keep the negative ones at bay. I need to surround myself with natural wonders more. I need to get out and push myself more. I need to get dirty, uncomfortable, and sweaty. These realizations continued as my week in Lake Placid went on. We visited two other mountains, climbed one, hiked to a waterfall, went kayaking, walked along lakesides. The clean air, the smell of the earth, and the sounds of nature engulfing you will change your body chemistry. I had an energy that I hadn't known in a long time. I had a desire to do more, be more, cultivate more.
I was definitely bitten by a bug there. And yes, I was bitten by many mosquitoes, but the bug I'm talking about was the "be more" bug. I stopped eating dairy and gluten while I was there, I was active and stress-free there. I was adventurous, and my true authentic self there. I didn't say no to anything, the answer was always yes, not only to Hannah but to myself. I am so grateful for my time there. I felt like I was truly Discovering Chelsea while I was there. I was discovering who I was and who I was meant to leave behind. I was discovering what I was capable of and what I was capable of letting go. I have more of myself to discover because this journey is a lifelong and soul long process, but I showed up, and I am showing up, and I am damn proud.
Photos and Experience Thanks to Hannah Rheaume
Hotel Accommodations High Peaks Lake House