I hike each year among the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. I love being in nature and that location is absolutely magical. It’s definitely my happy place! Every time I go I seem to realize some valuable life lessons. Things just occur while hiking that apply to my life. So here is my 2020 version of lessons I learned while hiking.

All Paths Lead to your Destination if you Just Persevere.

We were on a mission to find a path in between Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. The trail map at the site didn’t show an “official” trail, be we know you can get there. So it was a matter of exploring the terrain ourselves and figuring out the best path to get through. I guess you have to like the unknown of exploring, first of all, and my husband is at better at that than I am. So there was some level of trust involved there. But also I had to hold on to the comforting knowledge that any of these paths are going to lead us there, as long as we keep heading in the right direction. However, that gets difficult to believe when the path veers off to a strong right and you really need to go left. That’s when I became most doubtful. But in the end, it didn’t really matter which path we chose since all were ultimately going the same direction.

Similarly, in our lives, we have to walk on various paths toward our goals. And sometimes those paths take us in what seems like the opposite direction to where we want to go. But as long we as are trusting our abilities, persevering, and keeping our heads up looking to navigate toward our desired direction, we will get there. We could arrive from any number of various paths, so even if you make what seems like a bad choice, you still arrive at your destination. And you learned a good lesson along the way.

Strength in Teamwork

After a nice hike to a somewhat popular and crowded location called Devil’s Bridge, we saw a rock jutting out probably 50 yards above us. Of course, this intrigued my husband (the explorer) and our other friends. So we agreed to attempt the climb up to it. What this climb lacked in distance, it made up for in steepness. There didn’t appear to be any clear pathways. But there were openings that we could get through. So we forged ahead. It got a bit precarious due to the small stones and crushed rock beneath our feet and the steepness of the climb. It’s one thing to attempt this climb with steady footing, but this was more challenging than any of us anticipated.

There were a number of places in the middle of our ascent that looked rather impossible. I would look around for a clean tree to pull myself up, or a tree root on the ground that could give a solid foothold, while looking to avoid cacti of any kind. There were many moments that I was as low to the ground as possible (low center of gravity helps) strategically looking for my next few steps to safety. The teamwork during this challenging climb was very helpful. Everyone was looking out for one another, offering suggestions for solid footing, encouraging words, a boost up, or an alternate route.

The lesson of teamwork was noteworthy during this hike. And much as in life, we may need to seek advice, ask for a boost up, get encouragement and support, and always keep safe. 

When it Gets Really Hard, Dig Deep.

On the final hike of the trip, we thought we were doing an easy, breezy, but lengthy 7 mile hike. For the most part it was, but there was a section half way through that got really tough. The sun was starting to get very hot and lack of trees on the back side of this hike didn’t offer shade of any kind. We were surprised to see a sign that alerted us to the fact that this was a hazardous hike for people and bikes should not ride up or down, but rather walk. Since it was too late to turn back, we plowed ahead.

The biggest challenge for me here was the climb on rocks that were high steps to take. The ascent was pretty tough and was made more grueling by the heat, foot pain and exhaustion I was starting to feel. But it’s moments like this where you have to tell yourself to dig deep. Taking one more step, then another, then another was the only way I was going to get through this. After many “one more” steps, we finally reached the parking lot. It had been a long 4 hours, but it was finally over!

Similarly, in life, sometimes you are in an unpleasant, challenging or difficult situation. You have to dig deep down in your reserve tank and pull out all the strength you can muster to just go one more step. Then another. Then another. And you can’t let yourself stop until your reach your goal.¬†Stopping is not an option. So you plow through and reach the end of your life trail.

So there you have it, my three life lessons learned while hiking. If you want to review my 2019 Lessons Learned While Hiking, click here: https://bewellwithjanel.com/fitness/life-lessons-learned-while-hiking/

I hope you found some meaning or inspiration here. And if you are ever in Sedona, Arizona, say hello for me!

Wishing you health and wellness!

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