See this photo here?
This photo was taken over the weekend at the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
This photo means so much to me.
This is me on my longest overnight ruck with my heaviest pack. This is me with my fastest mile time on the trail yet, conquering 1,000+ ft in elevation changes. It is the culmination of 3 years of training, a dozen mountain hikes, and a whole lot of trail smoking.
This is a new me, a person I couldn’t imagine 3 years ago. This is a person who takes risks, publishes her writing, and is open about her cannabis use.
This person does hard things with enthusiasm and less swearing. She looks forward to breaking a sweat on the trail and sleeping under the stars.
The woman in this photo is strong, healthy, and happy.
And I owe so much of that to cannabis.
My partner brought me to hiking, but cannabis brought me through it. Cannabis was the relief and the reward when I was sweating like a pig on the trail, knees and shoulders aching, gasping for breath, wondering how I was supposed to make it to the top. Cannabis took away the knife’s edge of the anger, the raging fury that clouded my vision at something being so damn hard.
I hiked to smoke in beautiful places, and it was enough motivation to keep me moving even when I thought I would collapse.
Cannabis brought me through hiking to the other side, where hard things could be done. Where it was worth breaking a sweat, gasping for breath, and struggling. Cannabis mitigated the anger I felt when things got hard and let me sit in it. It was my motivation to keep moving and get back out there. And at the end of every hike when I was finally able to collapse in the car, it gave me a final nudge of pride.
Look what my body is capable of doing when my mind gets out of the way.
Look where my legs can take me, look what my back can carry.
The person in this photo doesn’t feel like me, because I feel like the same person. But I look forward to hikes now. I pack my bag heavy because I know I can carry it. I keep my legs moving because I know I can make it.
Cannabis lets me breathe when I need a break, lightens the mental load, and makes it easier to keep going. In hiking, as in life.
I am filled with so much pride when I look at this photo. I’m in the best shape of my life, carrying heavy packs up and down the sides of steep hills. I’m willing to keep going and happy to experience new things. I’m not filled with anxiety at the thought of things going wrong and I don’t feel suffocated under the weight of failure when I make a mistake. I still get angry when things get hard sometimes, but I know how to move through it now.
My partner brought me to hiking, cannabis brought me through it, and hiking has brought me to a new version of myself, one in closer alignment with my highest good.
Cannabis use changed my life. This is just one example.