This summer was a record for me on the number of hikes I was able to squeeze in… especially during a summer of record breaking heat (or so it felt). A couple weeks back, I shared a few of the life lessons realized on these many trails… if you haven’t had a chance to read that post yet, go ahead and read it… we will wait…
You’re back, great! Let’s continue…
On the second anniversary of a fairly significant change in my business ownership, I look back and realize how life has changed over those two years and how this summer on the trails was so well timed… something bigger then I had it in the plans… little did I know.
The damage done over the last number of years crushed my confidence, nearly destroying me… earlier this year (no, not a New Year’s resolution) I decided to set the intention… for a year of me, no matter how selfish it may seem, and what a year it has been… I call it growth.
Within that growth many life lessons and direction were learned… some taught on the trails and those are the ones I would like to share a with you…
One weekend mid-summer I hadn’t planned on joining a hike… it felt bizarre to how my summer had been going so far… so early the next morning I joined a large group tackling the Akamina Ridge… that last minute decision turned out to be a blessing of a beautiful day, starting with hiking up into the clouds… yes, with some scrambling and bouldering to get there… all part of the fun!
On this hike, I discovered everyone’s why to hiking was different… some hiked to compete, others to challenge themselves, others to just get from point A to B while others savoured the rest of the alphabet along the way, others to scratch “it” off their list or achieve a ‘crown’, others for the beauty of it all, and others to spend quality time with friends … much like life…
Seeing how a person’s ‘why’ to doing things affects them, their life and those around them, was an eye opener. You see, I had lost my ‘why’ when my company closed. I was a business owner, and my why to life, or so I thought, was to be that… to be the person to provide jobs for my guys, to be the person to complete the projects, to be the person in charge… but your see, that’s not me anymore. And so, my challenge has been: what or who am I? …
When the business closed, I felt like giving up… but the summer on the trails and witnessing or learning of others conquering their struggles on or off the trails, encouraged me to seek out my why again… you could say I am trying to find me again.
A gentleman that I passed on the way back down on another trail in the final huffy puffy part before the summit (16+ km hike with 510 meters of elevation gain/loss), said “I may be slow, but I get there” … he was celebrating his 74th birthday that day!
This gentleman persistency reminded me … Giving up is not an option. If you are on the trail, you will learn that as long as you put one foot in front of the other, you’re getting somewhere. Keep going… is a simple lesson, and when it’s applied to other aspects of our lives and our dreams, it can produce major results!
On Akamina that day, even with the hodgepodge of ‘whys’, we all made it back to the trailhead… eventually, some a little worse for wear. Since Akamina was conquered, and Carthew-Alderson earlier in the summer, that left Crypt Lake to wrap up the Waterton Triple Crown… guess I’m a part-crown type of gal… but that is another story.
My camera is basically an extension of my arm when I’m hiking. I like to think, the camera opens my eyes to the surrounding, makes me for alert for the beauty around... but from the beginning of the hiking season to now, you will see an evolution to my photos...
I love the huge landscapes that I find when I hike. The peaks and valleys being separate yet an key part of the full picture… like life. The amazing views from the summit, the target.
Early in the summer, one of my hiking mates would stop, bend down and take pictures of the smallest flower, bug or rock… I would be puzzled, thinking ‘What is she doing?... she is missing the beautiful (big) picture!’
I soon discovered that I too began to pay attention to the small details along the way. Stopping often to photograph the water pooling on a leaf, the tiniest wildflower, the animal forms I would see in the bark of fallen trees or stumps, the splits in rock faces, the snowflakes, icicles, and more that I found each step of the way…
Looking back, you will see the same journey with different appreciating eyes.
Little did I know, before this summer, how crucial the tiniest details were to the majesty of the mountains. If it weren’t for the small details, how bland would the big picture be? … what about life?
Everyone has their own struggles in life… even though those struggles are not wanted nor appreciated at the time, they are a part of you… how you overcome and learn from them, are part of the finer details that create the person you are, just as much as the victories you have, perhaps even more.
Life’s struggles, victories, failures and lessons are all part of the (your) big picture. You may not know yet how they all come together, but they do… they will.
Remember, life is to be enjoyed and appreciated with every step you take. Watch the path, take in the finer details around you. And learn from the road you took to get there. It’s not all about the end, don’t rush the hike, or you’ll miss some extraordinary things.
Enjoy the journey because it is filled with its own peaks.
What a difference a year makes, or even just one season.
There was a trail I did this year, that I tackled almost exactly one year before… it was at the summit I discovered what a difference a year makes. Summiting this trail came with such ease, I was in awe. Just one year earlier, it was like I was carrying all the cares of the world on my shoulders… okay, all the cares of my world, but boy what a load.
That load contained all the damage of my business closure. I often look back at my years of business ownership and wonder… why? What purpose did it have? I thought it was my mountain to conquer…
The time on the trails this summer, helped me to discover my business experience is in my past… it will always be a part of my story, no matter how gruelling nor how much I wish to forget it… but I can move on and not feel disloyal, and move on to my dreams.
Getting to this moment is a mountain all on its own… I plan on cherishing this mountain top… the view is positively breathtaking.
People, like hikers, strive for their mountain top experiences, where the challenges are behind, and the view is amazing… but it takes very many steps to reach the mountain top, with potentially a number of detours thrown in… The art is to find the same beauty in the valley and the climb, as from the summit.
You may be on the valley floor of life, or struggling to reach your mountain top… it may be a tough road now, it may feel permanent, it may be hard to hear or believe... but at the end of it all your hardship, there is a remarkable horizon. It’s worth all the struggle it took to get there.
Sometimes at the base of a new mountain, the top looks unreachable, too challenging, too challenging… but once you find yourself standing at the top and looking back from where you came, you gain a new strength in yourself… your perspective changes.
No moment at the top has ever lasted forever, tough descents are required so you can make another beautiful climb to the peak… it has been between the peaks and the valleys that I have learned the most.
I found a life quote on Success.com, fitting for a summer on the trails …
“If you create the right map, pack the right gear, and set out with the right pair of binoculars, you’re sure to discover the journey of your dreams.”
Like when hiking a mountain, it is only in the looking back do you discover how far you have come. Looking back is crucial… it is when discoveries are made, and the puzzle pieces are put together…
By taking the time to look back I discovered the change… the healing… the growth… the desire to dream again… the dream to succeed… the belief that success is possible.
Reaching your dream takes just one step after another... What's your dream?
- Angela, member of Lethbridge Sports and Social Club
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