Why not a brave-making date?

My husband, Gary, and I had several favorite trails in the Oregon Cascades. One of my brave-making goals is to eventually re-hike all of them. Alone.


The moraine lake tucked into Broken Top at 8,150 feet (All photos: Marlys – none enhanced)

For those new to the blog, I’ve written from time to time about brave-making ventures that help neutralize fear or anxiety brought on by widowhood.

On my brave-making list: re-hike all our favorite wilderness trails. And continue keeping Friday date night. Alone.

But here’s a new twist: why not a brave-making Friday date?

And so, this past Friday, I trekked up to the moraine lake tucked into the east slope of Broken Top, an extinct and glacially-eroded volcano.

This thought from an author unknown:

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.

This particular hike begins along a shaded canal with old growth and new growth and wild color.


Crater Canal

It eventually breaks out into the open where piles of rocks and masses of wildflowers decorate the landscape.




After crossing a couple of snow fields, and clamoring up a narrow trail clinging to the side of a hill (think: mountain goating), the reward is an unbelievably gorgeous sea-foam green lake formed from a glacier.


The moraine lake inside Broken Top

This thought from Nanea Hoffman:

You are here. Figure out what you love and then pursue it relentlessly. It’s OK to be scared. Just don’t let that be your excuse for not trying.

Cultivating courage is an ongoing process. It’s not a once-and-done thing.

During the seasonal changes of our lives that we didn’t ask for—single again after being part of a couple, emptying our nests, aging, loss of a loved one, or the trauma of a serious diagnosis—it’s simpler, more comfortable, less risky to stay home. To watch other people lead adventurous lives.

But … this thought from an author unknown:

Great things never come from comfort zones.

To finish out my Friday date, I sat in Drake Park by the river with a book—because Gary and I enjoyed a number of Drake-Park-in-lawn-chair dates back when he didn’t feel well enough to venture out very far.

This lovely laziness was followed by fish tacos at Spork.

Friday date. Alone. But fun. And today, I’m feeling a little braver than I did before today.

What if?

What if we drafted a list of brave-making ventures we’d eventually like to tackle? And what if we established some epic memories and built deeper courage by venturing out? Do it!


How critical is it to count the ordinary moments?


10 best tactics for dumping depression outdoors


  1. Deb

    Hi Marlys! I recently discovered your blog and have read every entry. I’m not even sure now how I came here, but I want to thank you for being such an inspiration to me. I am also a widow, 2 years this week, and a blogger, although a very infrequent one. My husband also had cancer and we too chose to count the things for which we were thankful and count our blessings each day of his illness. God was so faithful to us through that time!
    I thought I was doing well the first year of being without my husband of 46 years, but this second year I moved to a new state and it has been much more difficult. I continue to count gifts and be thankful, to choose joy, but I have lost my partner in adventure and travel and I have been unsure how to move forward alone. It seemed too daring to travel by myself and all my close friends still have their husbands and are not available to travel with me. Your brave making posts have been so motivating! As a result of your sharing these, I have just booked my first solo trip! For my birthday in October I am flying to Santa Fe, doing a hot air balloon flight, a Jeep tour and more! All by myself! As you quoted in this post, “ It’s okay to be scared. Just don’t let that be your excuse for not trying”. So, I’m making my list of other brave making adventures and looking forward to my birthday adventure. Thank you!

    • You’re awesome, Deb. A hot air balloon flight, Jeep tour, and more. In Santa Fe. Sounds perfect. Here’s wishing you an incredibly brave-making, fun, memorable birthday celebration in October!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024 Marlys Johnson