Six Timeless Truths You Learn While Hiking
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Great Things Take Time & Effort
This blog was inspired by my trip up Mount Washington (second highest mountain on the east coast nbd) last week, but applies to any hike.
You don’t just get to the top by starting there.
You begin at the bottom, in the woods, on a steady incline.
You probably don’t get a view worth looking at ’til you’re halfway up.
You have to scramble and hustle over obstacles to get to the top.
But once you’re up, the payoff speaks for itself. There’s something magical about standing at the top of a mountain you conquered and looking out at the world before you.
The effort expended to reach those heights is large, but you don’t get that payoff without expended effort. And everyone can go at their own pace — you’re not racing up the mountain, you’re hiking it.
No matter who you are, the same amount of work was put in to get the job done. Great things take effort.
Don’t be afraid, just get started.
Earth is Beautiful
It’s easy to hear all these great things about nature in a classroom or when you’re chilling at home.
But it’s also easy to forget them.
When you go on a stunning hike, it becomes an inescapable truth. Earth is the most beautiful thing…well, on Earth.
Take this hike for example — lush green forest at the bottom, raging river, mountain pools, and once you’re above the treeline you have views for miles in every direction.
The clouds drift across faraway landscapes.
The trees create a sea of green far below you.
The alpine meadows stretch upwards towards the mountaintops. It’s essentially a religious experience.
It’s no mistake that you never, ever see litter on these hikes.
People are busy appreciating the place far too much for such nonsense. There is no more potent reminder of Earth’s beauty than a great hike.
Great Things Come From Humble Beginnings
Just another timeless truth for the kids back home — great things come from humble beginnings.
A great athlete becomes great by years and years of practice starting when he/she is a kid.
A great writer writes terribly at first, and then becomes great. Hell, to begin with they don’t even know how the alphabet works.
Great rivers have their roots high in the mountains, welling up from springs or pools.
Pictured above is the Lake of the Clouds, high on Mount Washington. The source of the Ammonoosuc River.
The Ammonoosuc then flows into the Connecticut River, which then flows into the Long Island Sound.
But the Ammonoosuc starts as a trickle high in the mountains before turning into this.
Before flowing all the way south through 3 more states into the ocean.
Great things come from humble beginnings. So don’t be afraid to just get started and let the great things come.
It’s About the Journey
Getting to the top of the mountain is great — you get to soak in the views, etc.
But if that’s all there was?
Hiking wouldn’t be worth it. It wouldn’t even be a thing. Life would be one big mountaintop with nothing to compare it against.
On the Mount Washington hike, you start in the forest. You scramble up the rock face past the stream.
You soak in views below.
You see mountain flowers.
You reach the Lake of the Clouds.
You continue upwards to the summit.
All of this creates the experience, so that by the time you’re finally at the top, you have accomplished something great. And you’ve seen all the mountain has to offer.
When I think back on beautiful hikes I’ve done, I remember the path before I remember the view. The equivalent to the “Good Ol’ Days” before reaching success.
Life is all about the journey just like hiking. Remember it when you’re on the tough uphill stretch.
We Are Very Small
It‘s easy to think the entire world revolves around you. Your world may.
But THE world just keeps on spinning regardless of what you or I are up to on a given day. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Life is more of a game than a battle.
Ultimately, it won’t matter much in a couple 3 million years or so.
There’s the nihilistic way to view this, which is that nothing matters so you shouldn’t try, but there’s also the other way.
If nothing matters, have fun with it. Be good to those around you. Enjoy your time here. It doesn’t last long and we’re pretty small in the face of it.
Look at the clouds covering huge swaths of forest.
How many people could you fit down there?
Life’s all about perspective.
Humans Are Wired for the Mystical
I don’t care who you are, take a look at this picture and tell me you don’t believe in something bigger.
Or for that matter, any of the pictures in this blog.
Mount Washington was called Agiocochook by the Native Americans, who believed that the Great Spirit lived at the top.
When you see the peak shrouded in clouds, as it is most days out of the year, you begin to see why.
Seeing the world below you and the clouds above you on a hike brings to mind how spectacular nature & the world is.
In today’s day and age, surrounded by technology and civilization, many people aren’t so into religion or higher powers.
But humans are wired for it. And when you see something as downright mystical looking as the peak of one of these great mountains, you understand why.
You understand your roots a bit more.
You understand that the force which created that mountain is much greater than any force you can apply on the world around you even if you worked your whole life.
Appreciate the world’s beautiful things, and hold them in your mind with a certain awe. Trust me, it’s inspirational.
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As always — love ya.