My Recovery Journey Through Poetry + Advice For Your Own

The first time

I ever backpacked
I had no idea
What I was getting
myself into

I was twenty
And asked to join a trip
tracing the south rim
Of the Grand Canyon

I learned about death
that trip

When we came across
an abandoned pack
Over by the cliffs edge
Quiet and somber
For the rest
of the days trek
Taking in
the surrealism views
and solitude

But as we belayed
down into the river
I learned for the first time
How much stronger
I really was
And what
I was capable of

The second time
I backpacked
I was twenty one
Decided to spend a month
in the wilderness
Tracing 210 miles
Of the John Muir Trail to Mt. Whitney

On day three

I cried

Was in full on anorexia mode
Refused to listen
to my dad and partner then
When they explained
I would need extra food
With all the extra mileage
Even brought running shoes
So I could run
after the days hike


At the end of the trip
I cried again
Because while the others
had lost weight
on our journey
I had gained it

Because I learned quick
I would starve
with what I had only brough
Back home
“allowed” myself to eat
But actually fueled myself
for that month on the trail

Actually ate what my body
Had been crying for

And learned
how much stronger
my body
Could be
If I actually supported it
Gave it what
it desperately needed

Years past
Trips in the states
I once called home
and playground
California, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Wyoming

Till last summer
My first summer after recovery
My best mate and I
Went out in the back country
Almost every weekend
As we swore to ourselves
This is what we’d always include
in our lives

On those trips
I learned
at twenty six
When I finally gave
my body for good
What it really needed

How much stronger

I really was

And how much stronger
I forever would be
How much stronger
sisterhood had changed me
And the power and pride you felt
Being lone women
Out in the deep woods
With nothing but us
And pachamama

I am almost
twenty seven
Ready for new trips

But we are all
So much stronger
Than we give
ourselves credit for

As we grow
Our wisdom follow
from experience

Do what you love

Never forget time

in the outdoors
And the strength in yourself
And the strength you expand
With your people

Tags from the story
, ,
Written By
More from Ashley Church
Awakening: How One Woman’s Call Out Saved Me
A woman named Emily Baum saved my life. Here is how… I...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *