This weekend we’re traveling…again.  But we always try to make it fun.  So we decided to go to Bushkills Falls in Pennsylvania.

We both love hiking and thought it would be a perfect thing to do before we check into our hotel room.  We had never been there before but my husband’s boss said “Go right, there’s less stairs.”  Well, as we’re always up for a challenge, we went left.

Here’s the map of the trails.  Number 3 is the Top of the Main Falls and is pretty much your starting point.  We took the red route.  let me tell you, lots of stairs going down.  But what I didn’t realize until later is that would mean a lot of stairs going up.  As we got to Number 7 – the View of the Lower Gorge – we decided to keep going along this route.  There was a sign that basically said to turn around if you weren’t an experienced hiker.  We consider ourselves fairly experienced so kept going.  This is when I realized I left my Pro Air at home.

Now, this might be an asthmatic’s worst nightmare.  And I’m not going to lie, I was little nervous.  But mind over matter, right?  And I wasn’t going to tell my husband.  I kept going.  There was a part on the Bridal Falls Trail that made me huff and puff a bit, but I went slow and paid attention to my breathing.  “In through the nose and out through the mouth.”  I even had to stop a few times and catch my breath, but I knew I could keep going.  I kept telling myself I could do it.  And if I didn’t keep going, I would have missed out on views like this:

Gorgeous, right?

So what’s the moral to my story?  Being out in nature can make you have a different mindset and having a different mindset can push you to a point that you think you may not have been able to get to.  Another piece of the puzzle is believing in yourself because this is half the battle when it comes to facing something tough.  Despite not having my inhaler with me, I knew there would be a way to counteract my fears and have a great day.

I don’t know how many stairs we climbed, but I know it was a lot.  And at the end of the day, I felt so proud of myself.  For a lot of reasons…

One – I was able to have a successful hike without having an asthma attack.  The focus on my breathing helped tremendously!

Two – I found I didn’t even need my Pro Air.  If you asked me to do a hike without my inhaler 10 year ago, I would have said “No way, Jose”.

Three – I’ve found a way of life where I don’t have to be dependent on medications.  By changing my diet and increasing my physical activity, I’ve been able to find a life where I can live independently.

Sounds easy, right?  Not so much.  It has taken a lot of learning (about myself and how food affects the body), time and patience and encouragement from the members of my tribe.  I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs too.  But I didn’t, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.  Ready and willing to take on life, head on!  So asthma-free living, I’m coming for ya, whether you’re ready for me or not.