I posted some of this first section last Monday, May 15th, to the Rune Facebook group I am part of.
Long time lurker in the shadows, first time poster.
I have a giant week ahead of me. I am conquering something tomorrow that will bring the end of a chapter I have been working towards.
This weekend will celebrate the death of who I used to be, something I have been working towards for 4 years.
I asked my spirit guides, the universe, and the runes, to help show me what I need to know to remain brave and strong through this week.
While I only started learning runes 5 months ago on Jan 1st, runes have been calling me for years.
I finally had the energy at the end of last year to do something about the calling.
In Jan, I started Vibe Time and committed to pulling and learning a new rune every day as well as dive deeper into my spirituality.
In Feb, I didn’t do much with them, just a few single rune reads.
In March, I started learning about spreads and casting.
In April, I did a couple spreads, got sidetracked with life, and then I started learning about bind runes.
I am not forcing any of this. I am a go with the flow/Laguz type of human. Every step taken has happened seamlessly, without effort.
Today, my panic and anxiety about the events happening this week has hung a little tighter than it has been. So, TO THE RUNES!
I decided to do my first throw/casting read today. After 4 throws of keeping the ones that were face up, these were the remaining 5: Mannaz (humanity), Raidho (journey), Ehwaz (trust), Gebo (gift), Eihwaz (destiny).
I could have gone another throw to get less, but 5 felt like the right number of runes to read today.
After reading (again) about each rune, I decided to see if I could make a bind rune out of it. Bc why not?
Also, making bindrunes, moving the runes around till they just come together, has become a fascinating challenge.
This is what I ended up with.
As I started seeing each rune – well, all but Jera – I could feel the weight of my anxieties and panic leave. It was surreal. I finally believed. In my abilities. In my talents. And in myself.
I am sure I am not the first person to create this bind rune. And I know that bind runes shouldn’t be made with more than 3 runes.
But this casting, this bind rune, was a Gebo (gift) from my spirit guides, the universe, and the runes to remind me of how far I have come, how much I am capable of, and of just how strong I am.
Full. Body. Chills.
Tomorrow, I will not die on the 10ish mile hike with my 90% full pack. I will want to. I know that for sure. And I will get home and regret all of my life choices for a moment.
And then I will switch my gears to focus on the 16miler this weekend. The thing I have been working towards for 4 years.
And, for the first time, with 4 sleeps left, I am wholly ready.
Spirit team, we got this. My nickname is Beast for a reason. Bring it.
In the meantime, Adventure on with Curiosity,
-Kelly “Beast” Steele.
I was going to update this yesterday after my amazing 10miler but by the time I could get to updating, I couldn’t think anymore.
10miles, 4.5 hours.
Entire Wildwood finally complete. All 30.25ish miles of it.
I. Freaking. Did. It.
I got to rehike a section that nearly put me out of my misery 5 years ago. I scrambled over and under down logs. Traversed streams with broken bridges and makeshift, shady, paths.
I spent 63miles and nearly 30hours spread across 5 months with my best friend conquering my fears, getting soaked from the rain, covered in mud, and sweating like it was my day job.
This trail taught me so much. For instance, I learned how to trust my feet and fuel my body. Things I didn’t realize how badly I needed to learn.
This whole thing originally started last year because, after the pandemic, I had a hairbrained idea to hike the FULL trail in one go. People run it all the time. It’s a little bit longer than a marathon.
But, I will only run if my life depends on it so you better run faster than me.
At our pace over the 8 days we hiked the Wildwood, we averaged around 26min miles. The last 2 were with full packs. Mine is roughly 34lbs right now. Debating on cutting that even further down.
Last year, while I felt like I had to do the whole thing to feel accomplished and successful, this year, after battling Covid Lung for 5 months, I have vastly changed how I look at and conquer my goals.
My friend still wants to attempt the full thing in one go and I have every reason to believe that she would do it.
Together, it would take us at least 15hrs.
But, I can honestly say, I am not physically ready to do that.
Yesterday’s last mile was a freaking struggle. I had to work to take every single step.
Ask me next year.
But for now, I have a 16miler coming up. The trail I have been dreaming about for 4 years. The hike I have been working towards for 5. 2 more sleeps.
They call me Beast for a reason. And that bindrune will be with me every step of the way. Even the steps I would rather throw myself off the cliff.
Well, I did it.
I freaking did it.
I inched my way across a downed log to ford a raging stream river. Twice.
I climbed up a couple inclines so incline-y that I was practically on my hands and knees.
I learned that I need to double check that I have 2 socks, aka a PAIR of socks, and not just 1, or a PA.
I discovered that I need better moisture wicking socks AND to bring my hiking poles, no ifs and or buts.
I realized that chafing is a real bitch and I still can’t believe I forgot to eat my backpacking fudge I worked so hard on and was so damn proud of.
But most importantly, I blasted straight through and bulldozed right over, every single fear and every single comfort zone.
Just obliterated them.
I spent 16 miles with friends, powerful waterfalls, dirt between my fingers, sweat all over, and a smile glued to my face even when I was undergoing an existential crisis, demanding the universe tell me why I am like this.
Because in the end, after I nearly puked my guts out on the side of a cliff, and after I amended my own pyschological warfare strategy a thousand times, I wanted to do it again.
After I heal, of course
I wrote that bindrune on the top of my left hand Friday morning. I looked at it as I drove to the trailhead. I watched it fade as my sweat kept leaking.
And when I went to bed Friday night, as I convinced myself that I would still be completing my goal if I took the road back instead of the trail, something changed in me.
As I tried to get comfortable with a fun chaffing rash on my butt, I rolled over and knew I could finish this.
When I started walking Saturday morning, my psychological warfare strategy began.
Make it to the road then re-evaluate. I’m good. That wasn’t nearly as hard.
Make it to the first falls, take a lunch break, re-evaluate. I have officially finished 3/4 of the trail. The 3rd quarter flew by. I got this.
Second falls, last escape route, re-evaluate. I really can’t do this. My feet hurt. My calfs hurt. My eyes want to leak. The chaffing is real.
The next section, the last 2 miles, took everything out of me. I should have bailed. Finished the hike on the road.
But, even though that last incline made me momentarily stop to possibly puke, I dug deep. I dug so deep that I left behind who I was at 12pm Friday. I dug so deep that the person that emerged from the wild woods, was the bindrune that had sweated until nearly invisible, incarnated as a human.
An imposter entered and catharsis emerged.
Ok, so not an imposter, but a human who faked it till she made it.
But the person that emerged has exhausted all her reasons because she found her rock bottom and kept digging. She fought with grit and tears and sweat and pure determination to cross the finish line.
While it still hasn’t set wholly in that I entered full Beast mode to complete a Living List dream, and while I so badly want to pop the gnarly blister I earned because it would be so damn satisfying, I am looking forward to the next Living List dream I will be accomplishing.
It might be my second book. It might not be. But right now, Beast mode is taking a break.
In the meantime, Adventure on with Curiosity,
《》Kelly “Beast” Steele