My Hike To Self-Discovery (and what fearing bears has taught me)

Yesterday morning I got up, drank my coffee, did my Livestream, and drove the familiar route to my boyfriend, Joshua’s house. Once there, we got more coffee and started the drive through the mountains to where our phones said NO SERVICE and our toilet was the river. We saw the sign that said “Abrahms Falls 5.1 mi.” and I said “let’s go” on my prerecorded Instagram story. 


For the first 2 miles, we talked about religion and self-discovery and how this NO SERVICE thing would be great for me because for weeks I have been stressing about selling enough tickets for my event. Little did I know the journey we were embarking on at 11 am with four bottles of water and my pair of Chacos would teach me so much more.


After 2 miles we took our first break, and right as we were about to start again on the trail. Joshua snapped his head and raised his trekking pole and looked towards the sound of footsteps. This was the first moment that I realized how “alone” we were out here. Nowhere to run, no one to call to, and with approaching footsteps I became very afraid. We were hiking in The Smokey Mountains–home to loads of black bears (I use to live in the mountains when I was young and so I was very aware that they were real and big and defensive if it was a mom and cubs). Thankfully the footsteps turned out to be a fellow hiker (the only other one we saw on the trail that whole day). We talked for a few minutes and went on our way, except both of us now were aware that there very well could be fury, berry eating and human terrorizing creatures around us and so every few feet we would bang our water bottles and Joshua would yell “Hey Bear!” and we would sing loudly because black bears don’t like noise. Let’s just say I was terrified for 3 miles.


It was weird to have such a primal fear (not being on top of the food chain out here) and even though (SPOILER ALERT!) we weren’t attacked by bears and didn’t even see one, thank God, it gave me perspective. Back in the safeness of my room, my biggest fears were not checking off my to-do list or my second cup of coffee for the day would get me even more addicted or catering for my event wouldn’t work out. These all seemed like trivial and child-like fears compared to the fears we faced hiking by ourselves for 6 hours.

After I prayed and was brought peace by the fact that it was a slim chance we would be attacked by bears, other obstacles arose. We saw at least 4 snakes on our path (some venomous and only about 2 feet away from my blistered feet). That was another thing––Chacos are good for short hikes or lake days, not 28,000 steps on clay and rock. My feet were sore and torn and blistered. I had started my period that day too (sorry for the TMI) and so my back and stomach were aching. We also both ran out of water for the last 2 miles back.


But what kept up going was: WE HAD TO. There was no option out. No friend we could call to pick us up. No shortcut to a gas station filled with snacks. Nothing to bring us comfort but the satisfaction of another mile down. We did end up hiking the whole trail and see the beautiful waterfall at the end (a waterfall you can take a shorter 2.8 mile hike to see too). And it was defiantly a great bonding experiance––nothing like having a rock ready to throw at a venomous snake in one hand as your boyfriend leads you past the snake in the other. 


Will I do this hike again? No.

Did it show me how strong my body actually is? Yes.

Did it show me it is okay to be scared? Yes. Maybe a bear would have crossed our path if we weren’t cautious.

Did it show me I can endure pain and hunger and thirst much longer than I thought I could? Yes.

Did it give me a perspective of my life and my faith and my blessings? Definitely yes.


And, once we got back to service, I saw that through it all, I sold 2 more tickets.


Hi, I’m Hannah.

The founder and owner of this blog and site! Let’s just say, blog writing isn’t really my thing (I love videos if you don’t know;) So me posting this article took a lot! I hope you Enjoy!

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