July 21, Day 19 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
Several months ago, I started attended a guided meditation group that meets bi-weekly, and I have noticed a considerable improvement in my serenity. Breathing is most helpful in lowering stress and anxiety. Mary taught me to breathe in for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, and breathe out for five seconds. It really does relax me and if I do that 3-5 times, I always feel calmer afterwards. We seldom pay attention to our breathing, but it is an important part of life. Imagine living very long without breathing?
When bicycling, breathing increases my strength and endurance. Getting up hills is much easier when I’m breathing deeply. Any form of exercise requires heavier breathing in order for the blood to circulate throughout the body.
Today, Tim and I engaged in a sort of moving meditation. As we pedaled rhythmically along the river, we were mesmerized. The sound of the rushing river, as well as the creeks that pour into the Lochsa, the deep green evergreens, and the clear blue sky relaxed us to the point that we felt like we were in a meditative state. What a great way to distract us from the slight incline in elevation we had most of the day as we closed in on Lolo Pass (elevation 5,235).
The beautiful thing about today’s moving meditation was that it lasted all day. Often, when we bicycle, we will ride along water for some time, but never ALL DAY! We stopped often, taking over 100 pictures and videos. We didn’t even notice how much our butts hurt until the last 10 miles, because we were so happy and relaxed, soaking in the scenery at every angle. Unfortunately, you the reader only see a one-dimensional view of all the beauty that we are surrounded by each day. Nevertheless, try to share our very best shots with you.
Another reason for today’s happiness is that we have journeyed here before. We stayed last night at Ryan’s Wilderness Inn, where we had eaten lunch on our first tour in 2010. If you read our book you will remember Tim’s conversation with a college professor at that very same restaurant. The most memorable part of the trip for me was riding along the river on Route 12. All of our senses are activated as we ride: the sights, sounds, and smells are the three that stand out the most. The rushing water, the birds singing along the route, the smell of sage and pine fill the air.
I guess I could throw in the taste of the ice cold water in my Camelbak and the feel of the warm sun beating down on my skin, even though the ice melts too fast on these long rides and my skin is peeling like that of a snake. So, the meditative state does break down at times, but today was one of the best days on our tour so far. After those rough days of climbing and heat, we are grateful for the cooler temperatures and the sensory overload!
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