What is it about Hunt Lake Trail?

There is something about Hunt Lake Trail in the Manitoba Whiteshell that calls to me to conquer mental and physical goals. My first experience on Hunt Lake was traumatic and to this day, I still talk about it because it is part of a story that has catapulted a goal-oriented venture for me.

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I recall the first time that I was transported to Hunt Lake Trail while meditating. I was at a journaling and guided-visualization workshop in the fall of 2018. I went to the spot in my mind without intention. The universe knew that I needed to see the trail from the water and in my mind, I kayaked along the shore of West Hawk Lake and simply floated in front of the trail. To this day, I think it is why I love extended breaks on the water while on Hunt Lake Trail. Experiencing the water and being still with it is part of what draws me to the trail. It is a spiritual connection.

The vibrant green shades of foliage and moss during the summer months on Hunt Lake Trail has been the scene of numerous visualizations while meditating. When I find myself needing to decompress in daily life, I choose to focus on the colour green and I either think, write, or say aloud everything that I can think of that is the colour green. My mind often drifts towards a scene just like the one below.

I co-led a hike to the mid-way point on July 18 with Backcountry Women. I woke up nervous and wondered what the day would bring. I constantly reminded myself that the group hike would be different than my first experience on the trail. I had brought people together with the same motivations: a relaxed hike at a slower pace focused on empowering one another. As the other co-leader and I reiterated the intentions of the hike and stressed the importance of open communication and respect for our individual physical abilities, the attendees looked on with eager smiles and anticipation. I knew that our group was starting off strong and would remain that way.

I held anger and disappointment in my heart for a long time with what happened on Hunt Lake Trail during my first hike. It was through meditation, continuing to hike the trail many times, and focusing on myself that allowed me to find the silver lining of that experience. I have since created memories that far outweigh the negative ones. Without that traumatic experience; redemption, comfort, and inspiring others to take on their outdoor goals would not have followed.

At this time, I have two goals for Hunt Lake Trail in addition to continuing to hike it with people I enjoy spending time with:

• Solo hike • Lead a full hike

I have a cute little printed block in my home that says, “live your life by a compass, not a clock” Someone once made a comment to me that not everyone wants to hike like that. They are right. There were 10 of us who came together on July 18 for a slower paced hike that was not focused on time. When I am ready to lead the full hike that will take longer than average, I know that I will have people by my side.

I painted this at the first paint night style event I attended after a couple years of sobriety. I attended oodles of paint nights but found them triggers with phrases like, “drink and dry.” Instead of a city landscape, I painted my solo overnight hike to Caribou West on Mantario.

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