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“When you focus on the ‘what ifs’, you’re almost manifesting the thing you are most worried about.
By focusing on the ‘what is’, you are focusing on the good that is occurring in that present moment’
-Sharlene Jones Episode 121: She Explores


The last couple of weeks have been difficult. Life stuff…hurting for others, internalizing, etc…I realize how blessed I am to have a healthy family/community/support system and friends who will pray or listen whenever I need them. You know who you are, thank you so much!

I’m also in the ‘home stretch’ of finishing the Superior Hiking Trail (!) When I look back at where I was two years ago, I think one of the biggest changes I’ve experienced is that I have gotten better at taking care of myself and knowing when to pause before something breaks. It feels good to have some more experience under my belt (about 450 more miles since we came off the trail) and worry a bit less about the future and sticking to a schedule.


LENGTH 3.3 mi Hiking Club Trail loop around Annie Battle Lake
DIFFICULTY Flat, easy, accessible
DATE August 24, 2019
MAIN FEATURES Historic resort and game farm previously owned by the Star Tribune Newspaper, host to US Presidents, family camping and 5 lakes easily accessed by boat.

Self Care on the Trail
Last weekend, we hosted a Women Who Hike Yoga Hike at Glendalough State Park. It was like a self care triathlon… yoga, hiking, and swimming! Our group of 14 was a great mix of new and experienced outdoors women, and even one gal who drove up 8 hours to hike with us! We all got a new Hiking Club Password on the flat hike around one of it’s 5 lakes and want to check out the Yurts next time! At the end of our hike, a bald eagle hung out with us and circled us a few times while we swam in Annie Battle Lake! One of my favorite parts of being a Women Who Hike Ambassador, is creating events and opportunities that empower women of all levels and are good for the soul. Even though I had coordinated this day months ago, I felt like I was the one who needed it most!

I was so busy centering myself in yoga, playing and talking with friends that I totally forgot to explore the Glendalough Lodge or do my normal scouting around for interesting park details. Lucky for you, my buddy and Women Who Hike partner in crime, Ruth has a nice write up here.


Taking Flight
On my drive out of the park, I stopped at the visitor center to pick up a patch and was unexpectedly invited by the ranger to release a monarch into the wild!

“What? Really?”

We selected a butterfly from the monarch nursery tent, identified the sex, placed a little identification sticker on it and documented that it had a slightly damaged wing. I was worried he wouldn’t make it in the wild, then the Ranger handed it over to me by the wings to go set free! I had always been taught as a kid, NOT to touch a butterfly wing, so I was very careful to let my fragile friend go in a calm spot behind the building where it could take off without the force of the wind.


It flew away!

I was so worried about his little wing, but he flew off like a champ. I found my self cheering out loud, filled with glee as nature took its course. It felt symbolic, powerful and healing to set that little guy free. Even though several visitors got to tag and then let those butterflies go…it filled me with hope and I felt like that moment was just for me.


Filling up the tank
On that long drive to and from the park, I listened to 5 hours of podcasts! That is a luxury I don’t usually get to afford myself, so I drank them in and filled up my tank. Most of the episodes were from my favorite “She Explores” hosted by Gale Straub. From these amazing women, I learned about Bison, Butterflies and Borders, Overcoming a life changing health diagnosis while summiting the highest point in the US, jumping into a big career/life change, and stories from a woman who works in a wildlife rehabilitation facility (I am now slightly terrified of raptor talons).

I listened, sang in the car, prayed out loud and tried my best to be present and just appreciate the expansive and open views of the flat Minnesota prairie.

I was glad to be alone.

I also enjoyed listening to my friend Ashley White’s feature on the “Out There” podcast. He bravely tells the world how the nature saved his life. I will listen to his story again and again, and look forward to hearing part 2 in real life. I am grateful for his vulnerability and helping us all understand.

What’s next?

Lots of things cooking in the Wandering Pine world right now. As I said, I’m planning on finishing the last 50 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail and hope to hike long slow days with lots of breaks to fully take in this last section as Fall’s splendor sets in on the North Shore. I might even cook lunch everyday!

We are also hosting a BIG ‘OL CLEAN UP HIKE on National Clean Up day on Sept 21st at 9am at Minnehaha Falls. Ive hauled a little over 175 lbs of trash off the trail as a Granite Gear Groundskeeper since I started weighing what I pick up last Spring. Every little bit helps!


Come join the fun and meet us outside of Sea Salt Eatery with your garbage bag for a morning of community and “doing good”. This event is open to EVERYONE! Bring your family, pets, partners, and pals!

In October, Ruth and I are going to host an ‘Intro to Hiking Clinic’ at Midwest Mountaineering, details can be found on their Facebook events page. And I’m heading up a pretty epic ‘mystery campout’ for our Scout Troop. Normally, the Scouts plan everything, but they agreed to let the adult patrol plan a month so we can surprise them! Its a spot I have been wanting to go to for some time, so I hope we can pull it off!

As soon as I finish this post, I’m off to grab a slice of trail with my pal “Prank”. We haven’t hiked together since the brown map, and have a lot to catch up on after a summer of adventure! Hope you’ve had a great summer, taking time to find joy in the small things and are keeping those feet dirty!

Happy Trails!




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2 thoughts on “‘What is’ vs. ‘What if’… Self Care at Glendalough State Park

  1. Thanks for sharing Jen; you are a blessing to me today! It was refreshing to read something besides information about homeschool curriculum. I ache for a good long hike and sleeping in the woods in my cozy hammock. Hope to see you on the trail somewhere soon!

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