I went on a hike this weekend. A 2.7 mile STRENUOUS hike that, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be as hard as it was. I know the pamphlet warned me it would be strenuous but two things worked against me. One, I had done a portion of this hike before and while it was hard, I was able to do it. I went in figuring how much harder could it be than what I had done before. And two, I overestimated how in shape I am :)
The hike is a loop that peaks at a gorgeous waterfall. On one side of the loop there is a lot of scenery with rocks and rushing water everywhere; it’s actually quite beautiful. This was the portion of the loop I had done before. The last time I made it to the base of the waterfall but as you get closer to the waterfall, you start climbing what feels like 1,000 steps. After climbing all those steps the last time, I had decided that was enough for me.
This trip I wanted to complete the loop. Since I had started on the left side of the loop before, I decided I would go right and come around the other side to finish. In my head that was going to be the easier way to tackle this hike. I was so wrong; so very, very wrong! It started out hard and just got harder. It was literally an uphill climb for the entire nearly a mile and while that might not seem like a long distance, when it is all uphill it feels like an entirety! I stopped a lot, creating rest stops out of rocks wherever I could find one.
I kept going though and just when I wasn’t sure how much more I could keep climbing UP, the path leveled out for a few yards. That didn’t last long and soon enough the uphill climb was back. Finally, after what seemed like hours, my hard work was rewarded with the path leveling out before descending down to the Falls.
The song The Climb was in my head for most of that uphill trek. There’s a line in that song that says “ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side. It’s the climb”. At one point, sitting on one of my make-shift rest stops, I found myself thinking how life can sometimes feel like a uphill climb.
There were very few people on the path with me. Anybody that I saw was going down, there was no one else coming up. This side of the loop is not as scenic. Oh there are a lot of trees and parts where the vistas become visible for a second but that’s about it. Mostly there is silence.
When you’re chasing a dream or trying to reach a goal, it can feel very lonely. You seem to be heading up the mountain and it feels like you’re all alone. There isn’t anyone there to encourage you on or even to commiserate with you about how hard it is. But the thing is, there is so much to be learned just in the climb.
On one of my rest stops, I started listening to determine if I could hear the Falls yet because then I’d know I was close. I didn’t hear them and, at first, I was a little discouraged. But the longer I sat there, the more I stopped listening for the Falls and instead just listened to what the silence had to say. What I heard is between me and the silence :) My point is that it’s easy to get so focused on where you’re trying to go that you lose sight of what’s happening around you or more importantly, what might be unfolding inside you.
Doing new things and stretching outside your comfort zone is hard work and yes, you do need to keep your eyes on the prize because in the end that’s why you’re working so hard. But there are times when it really is just about the climb and the lessons you are learning as you climb. As you go hard after your dreams remember that while the goal is important, often the journey is way more important than the destination. Keep climbing but don’t forget to look around too.
Are there any areas in your life where you may be losing sight of the journey because you’re too focused on the destination? Tell me about it; I’d love to hear a little more of your story.