The Stages of Hiking with JRA

On Wednesday I went on 7 mile hike. It was a very flat and level hike with little elevation. It was also on well kept, wide trails with few roots or rocks to navigate over.  No problem! I thought. Hiking 7 miles in the woods is something I do not decide to do frequently and as a result I am still recovering. However, throughout this hike, I realized I went through many emotional stages…

The Stages of Hiking with JRA
  1. Excitement: I feel great! 3.5 miles each way, no problem. Let’s do this!
  2. Wonderment: Nature is beautiful! Look at these trees, birds, the rushing river!
  3. Motivation: Already one mile down. This is easy!
  4. Trepidation: My right knee is starting to ache…oh no, not even half way.
  5. Reenergized: Sign says 1.8 miles to go! That’s nothing!
  6. Denial: Both knees and ankles are throbbing, but I must keep walking.
  7. Anger: Why is this so hard, it’s only 3.5 miles.
  8. Hope: Only .4 miles to go!
  9. Fear:  As the path narrows and becomes filled with rocks and roots, I have fear with every step that my knees will give out and I will go tumbling into the river.
  10. Focus: I have to focus on every step I take, all of my effort and energy goes into making each step, no more nature, no more wonderment…
  11. Relief: I made it to the top! Hooray! Must Sit Immediately.
  12. Anxiety: I know I have to complete this whole journey again to get home.
  13. Resilience: I have done this once, I can do it again…(and my legs are numb at this point, so it hurts less)
  14. Pain: Once again, every step causes throbbing, stabbing and pain in both knees, ankles and my back.
  15. Despair: Will this trail ever end…
  16. Optimism: I see the bridge at the end of the trail, I can hear cars on the road, we are close!
  17. Thankful: Although my body fought me, it did not fail me and I succeeded.
  18. Fulfilled: I conquered the trail, conquered my JRA and completed my goal! (Now time for a well-deserved ice cream and bath!)




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