• Mary Anderson

Taking Pleasure in the Mundane

“How we deal with the same-old same-old will influence much of our lives.”

Continental Divide thru-hiker Mary Anderson is now in the Scapegoat Wilderness, on her way to Helena, Montana. She wrote this post as she was leaving the Bob Marshall Wilderness, shown in the video above.


By Mary Anderson

I have not felt the inspiration to write anything. I have been in difficult blowdown conditions hiking in high heat. I have felt tired and brain-dead. After Glacier National Park, the scenery in the Bob Marshall Wilderness almost felt mundane. Then it struck me: Maybe I should write about being uninspired.

It seems that much of life really is about the mundane. We have a number of peak experiences that shape our lives, but in between we must live the nitty-gritty same-old-same-old. It is the plodding along, putting one foot in front of the other that gets us from one point to the next. And how we deal with the mundane will influence much of our lives.

As I plod through the green tunnel and struggle through the blowdowns of the Bob, I can either feel let down after the grand views in Glacier or I can enjoy the mundane. That seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm not out here to be disappointed. So I remind myself how good it feels whenever I am able to take a step without too much pain. Rather than hating having wet feet all day, I think about how I am soaking my injured ankle as I walk. I make a point of noticing the small things around me, rather than always looking for the grand.

I am reminded of a quote I have always loved by someone who, when asked why he climbed mountains only to have to descend again, responded by saying that those who climb do indeed come down, but having been to the summit they are forever changed, for they carry within them the memory of the peak. I know this is true, and I remind myself that I can’t be on the peak all the time. In fact, it is plodding through the mundane that makes the peaks more special. I am determined to find the beauty in every section of this trail. I hope I can then carry that attitude into the rest of my life.


Mary Anderson is a weaver, farmer, tele skier, teacher, and counselor. She is writing a book about hiking the Continental Divide Trail, a journey of healing that she began in her sixties. Working title: Becoming Mary Badass.

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