INSPIRATION: A Hike In My Shoes – Braces Included

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

 

As someone with a leg disability, it’s probably a bit of a shock when I tell you that one of my favorite activities is hiking. In fact, the more challenging the trail, the better. Quite honestly, I don’t even understand that part. But are you supposed to be able to comprehend exactly why you love what you love? Of course not! You just do. But for me, it’s a little complicated.

 

Growing up with cerebral palsy, you learn to accept the fact that most people are going to either A) be scared for your safety, or B) tell you that you can’t do something. As a maturing adult, I understand that they don’t want me to hurt myself, but at the same time, how will I know what I’m capable of if I don’t try? Even if I do get hurt, I’d rather live with the satisfaction of knowing that I gave something my best shot.

 

Hiking has been a love of mine for a very long time, especially since I discovered the benefits.

 

People with disabilities often have to stretch and move to help them with gaining more strength and balance, and hiking is one of the ways I love to get a workout in. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like it so much when I was a child. I was younger and a lot weaker, but just like with anything, the more practice you get, the better you’ll become.

 

And the thing is, it’s not always easy. As a matter of fact, it’s a disabled girl walking in the middle of the woods, how easy could it be? But that’s why I love it. I love the challenge.

 

I love being able to look back and say, “Hey, I did that! I enjoyed it, let’s do it again!”.

 

My father sometimes likes to say that I only have an interest in hiking or being active with my legs because I like to prove something to people. And it used to make me mad. But honestly, he’s right! I love being able to show people that even though it might not look like I can do something, I will find my own way of doing it.

 

Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Instead, own that thing. Flaunt it. Help spread the idea that we (me, you, the disabled and able) all have things we love to do, and even though we might not be understood, it sure won’t stop us!

 

When I walk in the woods, I feel peace. When I look at the sky above the trees I feel free. Free from the confusion, doubt, and even the fear that I’ve grown so accustomed to. Hiking has always made me feel like I’m a part of something bigger. I’m not just spreading awareness about the disabled community, I’m bridging the gap between us and those more able.

 

Everyone deserves to find something they enjoy, and we do it with a fire in our step.

 

My favorite place to hike would probably have to be a place called Wolf’s Hollow County Park. It’s the closest park to me, and I have many fond memories there. Ever since I was a kid, that’s the place my family would go. Now, I enjoy going there with my friend and her dog (who is also my best friend, if I might add). There are lots of trails to choose from, varying in difficulty and scenery. I love the fact that there are lots of little challenges along the way- hills, streams, rocks, and the occasional fallen tree. Birds are everywhere singing their songs within the several hundred mature acres of woodland habitat.

 

Wolf Hollow Park has kept me inspired to challenge my hiking skills as I grow.

 

I love finding out the things that people enjoy. Watching their eyes light up like mine do when I talk about hiking. Knowing that whatever it is they love doing, they wouldn’t change it for the world. That is why I do what I do. I want others to see that I am not going to give up.

 

I’m not going to quit, and I’m definitely not going to be slowing down!

 

Julie

Julie is a twenty year old who recently graduated high school. She has Cerebral Palsy, but doesn’t let that hold her back! She looks forward to becoming a certified Life Coach, and obtaining a degree in psychology. Helping people succeed is her passion, as well as hiking, working out, and writing. You may reach Julie at www.thecontinuationproject.wordpress.com or email Julie at jujubead57@frontier.com

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