This one is going to be a bit more personal. To say that I enjoyed my trip to Banff would be an understatement. It was definitely one of my best and memorable trips. I learned so much about myself and I think I caught the hiking bug too. It will sound cliché but this trip is one of those life-changing trips. It was short but being surrounded by the best of Mother Nature and amazing people usually do that. I definitely pushed myself to my limits and I couldn’t be happier it happened in such a beautiful setting.
Let me tell you about the lessons I learned while climbing the mountains:
First, I learned that to survive long and strenuous hikes, you need the proper gear. Since it was my first real long hike (my visit to Yosemite last year doesn’t count), I didn’t have all the right stuff; for instance, I now know a proper bag made for hiking is pretty important. Luckily, I had at least made the decision to invest in good hiking boots beforehand and that made a big difference. In life, you need a positive attitude to survive. It’s not always easy especially when you’re dealt with setbacks but you’ll learn along the way. I’m also a natural pessimist so it’s a struggle for me to always stay positive, but I try, constantly.
I also learned that it’s best to stay in your lane and to take your time. Don’t feel bad if people pass you, you’ll get to the top eventually. When we were basically scree hiking on a very steep side of the mountain near Peyto Lake, I learned that every step was important. Taking the time to make sure my foot found a stable enough rock with each step was crucial. Like hiking, life is not a race. Take your time, trust your instincts and you’ll get to your destination in the end.
Another lesson I was reminded of while in the middle of one of our long hikes was the importance of surrounding yourself with people who will support, encourage and bolster you up. I’m grateful the group of people who I was with on this trip was definitely supportive and encouraging, along the trek and at the end of each hike. They reassured me along the way and made me feel good about my accomplishments at the end. If it weren’t for the people I met on this trip, I wouldn’t have reached the peaks that I did. This just reminded me to be thankful for the people in my life who constantly encourage and cheer me on.
Lastly, I learned that when presented with a choice between an easy or a difficult trail, don’t hesitate to choose the more difficult one. Oftentimes, the views are much better and the rewards are greater. At the trailhead on one of our last hikes, there was literally a sign showing the two options: an easy trail or a more difficult trail. It was tempting to choose the easy one; after all, we were tired at that point. I’m glad we chose the harder one; the scenery was absolutely better. I think life is more interesting and exciting when you choose the more difficult path. Don’t always choose the conventional, take a risk, and embrace the unknown!
I surely surprised myself on this trip. Pushed myself to the limits and I’m glad I did. Like Banff, life is crazy beautiful, enjoy the journey and amaze yourself.