Running with the Wolves

On January 1st of 2017, I stood outside of a forest, observing, knowing that I would have to enter and trek through at some point. With a timid sense of being, I stepped into the tree-filled abyss. I didn’t know what would come of this journey. Would I be chased by wolves? Or would I chase with them? Would I fall through the ice of the small, no-name ponds and sink? Or would I bravely jump in and swim? 365 days of the unknown. But it didn’t matter what I didn’t know, it didn’t even matter what I knew; all that mattered was what I was going to learn.

2017 was filled with trial and error, accomplishment and joy, standing still, and running as fast as my legs and my soul could take me. Friendships blossomed, and losses doomed. But the phenomenon about 2017 that holds me in awe is that I never once stayed down. I constantly picked myself back up, brushed myself off, and kept attempting to find the elucidation as to why I was lost in this forest of perplexity. There had to be a reason, and finding it would be my way out.

To love oneself. It’s a complex theory; rather difficult to overcome. I went into the forest hating who I was and depending on others to help me find a glimpse of happiness. I was chased by wolves, and I fell through the ice many times and nearly drowned. But at the darkest point in the forest, at the point when I decided to succumb to the wolves, I was blinded by a beam of light through the trees. Just when I was at this lowest point did I realize that I let the forest control me. I let the forest control my emotions, when I would feel sad, or angry, or happy. I let my surroundings dictate me and convince me that I loathe myself. No more. The light that shown through the trees was love. Love for myself and everything that I am. My revelation filled me with the confidence to take control. I was in control of my forest. I knew this was the way out of the woods, and when I heard the wolves coming, I stood tall and I ran with them.

Others can’t fight the demons we have within ourselves. We have to fight our own.

So now, on January 1st of 2018, I stand at the edge of my forest, one step away from the final step out. My wolves, they aren’t vicious anymore, they’re gentle now; loving. With their tails wagging, they wait patiently behind me. I’m expecting to step back into civilization. Maybe onto asphalt, or concrete? Leaving my origin behind, I take the first step out of my fortress of trees. To my surprise my foot hits sand and I pull myself into the hot, dry atmosphere. The forest couldn’t teach me all that I need to learn, it is filled with leniency. The desert, however, is unforgiving. As I stand and stare into the dry, withering, landscape I am in awe and slightly nervous, yet exhilarated to learn the wisdom the desert has to offer. The challenges are just beginning. Life has just begun.

With a smile on my face, I run into the arid beauty.



Second Stop: Colo(rad)o Pt. 2

Family and friends mean the world to me; as I’m sure they do for most. This is what my entire Colorado trip was- family and friends. The second part of my trip led me across the entire southern area of Colorado. On the way, passing through my Grandmas hometown and the places she grew up in, along with my dads, aunt, and uncles hometown and life-stops along the way. I ventured over Wolf Creek pass, which brought tears to my eyes. The entire, extremely thick forest, once miraculous, pass was now complete beetle kill. The once beautiful, lush, green mountains now looked as if large sticks had been put in place of the pines. Heartbreaking, but life.

The drive was diverse, going over mountain passes (both lush and dead), and high plains. I️ am always in awe of the giant windmills that circulate by wind for the making of energy. They’re pretty amazing.

I️ was greeted by my Grandmas basset hound, Louie, and precious mutt dog, LC, when I️ arrived at my Grandparents house a few miles outside of Kit Carson, Colorado. Soon I️ was sitting at the dinner table with my Grandma sipping a cup of green tea, discussing my trip, and catching up on all the new, and old, news. My Grandparents always inspire me with their stories and wisdom. They push me to be wise, patient, positive, and loving, and I️ aspire to be equivalent to my Grandparents in all of these areas.

The next couple of days were spent helping Gram and Gramps out around the farm. Feeding cows, chickens, cats, and dogs are the morning and nightly routines. As well as, all of the tasks throughout the day. I️ love going to my Grandparents and reliving my childhood. Memories are abundant along the fence lines of my grandparents property.

I️ was only able to stay at my grandparents for about a week, I️ had to be back before school began. Leaving the farm and my lovely Gramma and Grampa was so hard. Goodbyes are difficult when you rarely get the opportunity to see the people you miss so badly while you’re away. But I️ plan and hope to go back as soon as I️ can!

My next stop was Colorado Springs, CO, where my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins live. I️ only have one cousin who is near my age, my other cousins are many years older than me. But that never stopped us all from being best friends growing up. We were wild.

My time in Colorado Springs was very memorable. I️ was able to attend a celebration with my Aunt and Uncle at a beautiful country club in Garden of the Gods, where I met the mayor of Colorado Springs along with many other influential people, and listened to them speak. The celebration was a thank you to the committed donors of charities. It was an inspirational experience, to be in a room filled with selfless people who genuinely care about the well being of others. Plus, on a side note, I got to dress up a little. I always enjoy attending an event that allows me, and/or is required of me, to dress nicely. “You’re not allowed to wear jeans in ‘The Club.'”- A quote by my Aunt when she informed me I had to wear a dress or skirt. I got a kick out of “The Club”!

I took a hike around Red Rock Canyon in Co Springs during my visit. It was so amazing to hike in a very wild place, yet just outside of the city. Colorado Springs is a hot-spot for outdoor lovers. Hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, trail running, etc. are all common, hobbies to the people of Springs. Colorado in general is big in outdoor adventure, and it has good reason to be; it’s a miraculous state. Red Rock Canyon was ravishing. It was so diverse in wildflowers, shrubs, trees, and grasses, while, at the same time being rocky. Gigantic rock formations towered randomly throughout the area. I hiked to a rim road that was moderately high in elevation, the view from that road was striking. I looked out over the entire Red Rock Canyon, and gazed upon the giants that where the rocks, placed so preciously around the vicinity. Beyond that, I could see the entire city. I couldn’t help myself but imagine how astonishing it would be to stand where I was standing during the night. Stars would shine so magnificently over the canyon, along with the twinkling lights of Colorado Springs. Maybe one day I will be able to fulfill the need I have to see that view.

I left early on my departure back to Oregon. The normal route my family and I always used to take was to turn off of I-25, and go north west through Fort Collins on up. I wanted to switch it up a little bit this time, so I stayed on I-25 going north and I turned off right before Cheyenne, Wyoming, onto I-80 west. These white lines led me home.

Driving through different states is entertaining to me. They’re all so unique in their own ways. I stopped in Wendover, Nevada and spent the night, before awaking early and driving the rest of the way home. 1,245 miles later, I made it back to Klamath Falls, Oregon. Lucky me, I know.

This trip taught me to never stop longing for adventure and wisdom. I have a long way to go before I would consider myself to be a wise person, but I would love to achieve that title one day. I truly believe solo trips, camping solo, hiking solo, along with, hikes and trips with company, makes one a wiser being. Nature alone can teach wisdom for those who listen, appreciate, and have a need to learn. The difference between the sounds of tires on asphalt and tires on dirt, the sentiment of having a cup of tea and sharing a laugh with missed loved ones, the appreciation of a single wildflower, small blades of grass, or the warning of a rattle snake, and the humble pride of giving and sharing, are all aspects of life that lead to the brightest of wisdom.

Happy Hiking. Happy Days.

Nettie Pitman


Gramma’s Front Porch


Sunrise on the Funny Farm