"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Escape to the mountains

By on July 25, 2020 in Outdoor Fun with 0 Comments
Trek up Chelan Butte. Very dry and dusty, but worth it for the beautiful views of Lake Chelan.

Story by Kristen Lovene McCamey

Photos by Kristen Lovene Mccamey 

and Kyle Christensen

My name is Kristen McCamey and I am a Wenatchee local. 

The valley has always been home base for me — a place to recharge my battery, surround myself with loved ones, and enjoy the scenery. 

This year has been especially rough for everyone: 2020, the year of utter chaos. Everyone has been affected in some way. May it be through physical or mental health, finances, or personal beliefs, we are all feeling it. 

Having an outlet for the stress is crucial during these times. For me, hiking has been a true solace. 

Beautiful views of the clear blue water of Colchuck Lake in Leavenworth.

Starting back in April, I have made hiking part of my weekly routine. 

It got to the point where I was going so often that I realized I was truly benefiting from the positive effects of having such a healthy habit. My mind felt clearer, I gained a sense of control and personal accomplishment, and my body was hurting in all the right ways. 

As my hiking obsession grew, I began challenging myself in new ways. 

I started setting a minimum amount of hiking miles I wanted to clock in per month. I also researched and discovered new trails that would offer me tougher challenges. 

The hikes also began to spread to farther destinations: including the North Bend, Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass area. 

A hike rock (#allingoodclimb) left at the top of Navaho Peak in Cle Elum.

To add to the fun, I decided to start leaving painted “hike rocks” at the final destinations of each trail I accomplished. Small painted rocks with inspiring words, symbols, and colors. 

On the backside of each rock, I painted a hashtag that people could use to share their rock discoveries on Instagram. It’s been a fun way to see where they end up. 

Kristen strolls through a luscious, open meadow at Lake Valhalla up Stevens Pass.

They are a treasure for someone to keep: a souvenir of their hard work and persistence on the trail. 

Over the course of two months, I have left over 30 rocks in various locations. 

Though I’m unaware of where all of these rocks have ended up, the ones I know of now belong to treasure-seeking hikers — one man added it to his rock collection on his bookshelf, for example. 

I’ve connected with people who have found my hike rocks in various locations, including Stuart Lake within the Alpine Wilderness, Manashtash Ridge in Ellensburg, as well as Saddle Rock in Wenatchee.

Any time I can convince others to get out there and discover a new healthy passion, I will. 

We all deserve to have a physical and emotional outlet during tough times. We are all in this together and will survive this together. 

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