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2016 presents many opportunities for the pack at Peak Animal Wellness and Massage.  Let’s go ahead and start from the (almost) beginning.

ansel and clareFor many years now, I have envisioned myself enduring and completing a thru-hike.  A “thru-hike” is defined as a long distance trail from end to end.  A great example is the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,663 mile trail that begins in Mexico and ends in Canada.  Every year, approximately 750 people start and finish this 6 month pilgrimage.  If I am to speculate, my guess is that the PCT thru-hiker’s lives are changed forever, somewhere in between the 3 states and 3 countries that they  meandered through.

At 18 years old, I made a pact with my friend to complete The Appalachian Trail, the east coast equivalent to the PCT.  It’s been over 10 years now, and I can count 3 different times that I have re-announced this declaration.  My friends and family would (mostly) support and encourage my decision each and every time.  When the departure date came and went, I would feel overwhelmed with guilt, embarrassment, resentment and discouragement.  How did I let this happen again, and how did it slip away?  Why does this experience keep passing me by, and how am I unconsciously supporting that decision?  The truth was – factors like determination, responsibility, focus, and financial capability all hindered me from completing this ongoing goal.  Yet, all of these pieces felt more like excuses to me.  While my friends and family probably thought nothing of the change in plans, I was left feeling disturbed and disjointed.

training!I turned 30 on August 15, 2015.  Wow.  2015 was a monumental year for me.  There was a subtle shift in my consciousness, and instead of blaming outside influences on my current “self worth” or “ability”, I changed my perspective and began looking within.  This is a daily struggle, and I believe most people would agree.  But this shift truly changed my reality, and suddenly the impossible felt plausible.


Shortly after my 30th birthday, I began toying around with the idea of thru-hiking the Colorado Trail.  My career was suddenly blossoming, my small “family” growing, and my love for Colorado unwavering.  Yet, all of the history stated that this dream would not rest until it had transformed.  So I began planning: the Colorado Trail is 500 miles, and generally takes 4-6 weeks to thru hike.  Perfect.  I have always wanted to explore more of Colorado, and the reduced amount of time needed to thru-hike the CT felt really appropriate and realistic for my life at the time.  I decided that, if I were to go, I would bring my young but feisty cattle dog, Ansel.  Since I have previously felt let down by my declaration (and failure) of this pilgrimage, I decided not to tell too many people about my plan.  However, I did mention it to my Dad, who took an immediate interest.  It was settled: my Dad, Ansel, and I would set out on July 16th 2016 to thru-hike the magnificant Colorado Trail.

dad and meOn October 23rd 2015, I received a call that my Dad was having a heart attack, and was being life flighted to the Pensacola Emergency Room.  He had experienced at least one other heart attack in the days preceding this event.  His current prognosis was unknown.  My initial reaction was to completely ignore the magnitude of the situation — I kept going about my normal activities for a few moments (longer than I’d like to admit), until the intensity set in.  I have not lost a family member since my brother died, and the idea of losing my Dad felt completely unreasonable.  Yet, I know that death is real.  I constantly wonder how I can take his and other’s life for granted?  Including my own.  Death is inevitable, and yet not seeing or speaking to him in the capacity that I can do today feels completely unbearable.  Still, my Dad made a full recovery, and I am blessed to say that he is still here with me today.  With the cardiologists approval, we will still be departing on July 16th 2016 for our thru-hike of the Colorado Trail.

Why am I “coming out” about thru-hiking?  Well, simply put: it’s time to stop being scared of the world. I really hope that we can finish our thru-hike, I feel like we have the strength.  I won’t lie – I am terrified that I won’t finish, that my IT band or hamstrings will act up and send me home, that my dog will get injured.  The truth is – if I don’t finish, that’s okay with me too.  The whole experience will be absolutely epic, and all I really know is that we will definitely start something that is unstoppable.

the ct

Keep a look out for our upcoming event (in June!) at Marty’s Meals . . . we will be talking all about “Backpacking With Your Dog”.  Sign up will be available soon!

To our P.A.W. Massage clients – during Claire’s 6 week leave of absence, Marcy is available to help continue your animal’s massage maintenance plan.  Email or call to inquire further, or to schedule a time for you and your dog to meet Marcy!

Claire: 720-253-9522, [email protected]

Marcy: 518-577-7726, [email protected]

Love and Light!


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  1. Clair-E… proud of your inner growth and goal for the thru-hike. Life is a thru-hike….thru good times, shitty times, boring times, memorable and everything in-between. The starts and stops and misguided steps down dead-end paths are just part of the trail. Enjoy the adventure….enjoy the time with your dad….and carry a piece of your “moms” with you…as we will be living vicariously thru you! On On!!

    1. Thank you so much! I always carry a piece of my Moms, no doubt about it.

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