Lately, rather than being jealous of the highlight reels others share on social media, I’ve been jealous of my own. Memories of the adventures I shared with my husband in the pre-COVID-19 world brought me to tears. I had a dream, set a goal, and knocked it out of the park. Will I ever be able to reach that level of joy again?
I first learned about the West Highland Way in a book about the majesty of God. The 96-mile trek in Scotland can be hiked over the course of a week, with overnight stops in quaint villages along the way. I love connecting with God in nature and combined with the manner in which the author described her hiking experience, I longed to experience the trail for myself.
My husband and I are hikers, blessed to live near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee. We’ve logged countless miles on the trails in these mountains, even committing our lives to one another in an old church in the park. The West Highland Way promised similar terrain to what we have hiked on this side of the pond, with a beauty only the Scottish highlands could provide.
Only a few years after describing the trail to my husband and saying enthusiastically “we should do this,” we started our journey of almost 100 miles. Spread over seven days, we hiked between nine and nineteen miles daily. Each evening found us in a different village, with accommodations at a bed and breakfast or small inn. Beautiful countryside, a hot shower, and a real bed? Yes, please!
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