Always a grasshopper.

Recently I was re-aquainted with an old college friend. She started calling me Grasshopper. Months went by and I began reading about the world of long distance hiking. I heard about trail names. I asked my friend, “why Grasshopper?” She reminded me of the Karate Kid movie and the name given to the young student in his quest for knowledge. Fast forward. I met a long-distance hiker named “Tatu Joe” who became my mentor. He said he wanted to give me my trail name. After about a month he proclaimed he had it…”Grasshopper.”

Talking with one of my daughters this morning about the name Grasshopper. I said that I guess the past ten years I have been on a real searching quest for knowledge. She said,” Mom, ever since I have been your daughter, you have always been in the pursuit of learning something new!”

My journey along life’s path has been beautiful. I have two of the most amazing daughters. They have been supportive of my every changing direction in life. I am blessed. I would say life is always changing. The past ten years though seem to have been the most transformative. My husband passed away to a very rare form of cancer. Our worlds were rocked heavily. I grieved for many years.

As I began pulling myself out from the rubble, I began looking at life through different lenses. I realized how blessed we all were. I began running the trails again. I surfed the warm waters of Hawaii, El Salvador, Mexico , Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Healing modalities called to me and I studied various forms in various countries, Bali, Costa Rica, and Nepal. I began volunteering for different organizations in my town and felt the pull to Nepal to work with orphans. There I also studied Tibetan Buddhism. 

I became ill with a severe bronchial infection while in Nepal. I had to leave the orphans. I had to leave the Himalayas, which I had planned to trek, but was unable to do. Flying high over those mountains I realized I must hike when I got back to California.

I decided to hike the John Muir Trail. I hadn’t ever solo hiked, so I did a trial run in Desolation Wilderness and I was hooked. The John Muir Trail confirmed for me. I was where I should be.  I hiked solo. But, I met a bunch of super cool folks whom I will always remember. Upon finishing the trip I heard about the ALDHA West Gathering of Long Distance Hikers. I ventured to Nevada City without knowing a soul. I left the weekend feeling as if I had found my tribe.

I begin the Pacific Crest Trail very soon. The ocean, she always provides me with the healing energy I need to go forth. The mountains give me a sense of unity I guess with something so big. I get a sense of peace  and spiritual connectedness that I have never felt. The mountains called and I heeded the call. I have found my path..and I embrace it with all my heart.Laura Williams Trekking