I used to think hiking was silly. I saw grown men and women walking up and down hills and across valleys and thought, "If only they were on a motorcycle...or about to paraglide." I viewed hiking as boring.
Now that I'm older I've found the hidden wisdom in hiking. Last week our family hiked in the Sangre De Cristo mountain range near Westcliffe, Colorado. Here are some life lessons we learned:
Pack carefully for the journey. It matters what you take with you on a hike. It might rain. You will get thirsty. Are you bringing a lunch? And yet, bringing too much "stuff" bogs you down and slows down your trip. Such is life. Leave your burdens at the cross and learn to forgive often. God reminds us His mercies are new every morning.
Picking your trail is critical. At the trail head (the beginning of your trek) several paths may look the same. And yet... one path leads to Venable Falls with a large lake and waterfall. While another trail leads up to the rocky heights of Horn Peak. So it is in the real world. Decisions like where you go to school or who you date and eventually marry end up setting much of your life course. Choose wisely!
Slow and steady leads to real progress. One of our sons wanted to run on ahead. One of our daugthers wanted to quit after just twenty minutes. We found that a slow yet steady pace was best for the group....stopping for occasional rest breaks along the way. Have you found yourself racing ahead in career plans or lagging behind by being afraid of trying new things? Take joy in small victories. New York wasn't built in a day.
Look up and enjoy the view. While hiking it is easy to keep your head down and focus on the trail. But one of the joys is looking up and around at the aspen and pine trees, smelling the wildflowers...and gazing at the next valley or mountain top. Do you have a vision for where your life is headed? Are you taking time to enjoy the view?
Planning a hike takes time. In two weeks our oldest son Austin and I will be hiking in Cascade, Idaho. (www.wildernesspassage.org) We are busy looking at the list of items required and thinking about what to bring. Flashlights, sleeping bags, wool sweaters, the list goes on. Do you spend much time planning for your future? Any classes you still want to take? Any goals you wish to tackle? Got a book in you that needs to be published? Take the time to plan...then take the all-important first step.