I am going hiking Saturday and I believe I want to make it a regular practice. I went a few weeks ago for the first time and loved it! It happened on a Saturday after a strenuous couple of weeks and I needed a place to escape to for the day. It was the first beautiful Saturday with cooler temperatures, so I grabbed my gear and went to Medoc Mountain State Park, a hidden treasure just outside of Rocky Mount, NC.
They have several trails ranging from easy to moderate and I thought I would walk a couple of miles, sit at a picnic table and write about my time. I grabbed my bag, my Deep Woods Off, my worn out shoes, water, grapes and my iPhone. No, I didn’t grab my nice camera because I felt as though I needed another focus rather then looking through the lens. I needed to see a bigger picture if you will. The plan with my IPhone was to use it for music purposes but when I arrived at the park, I realized that listening to music would silence anything and everything I needed to hear that day. So the iPhone was used for photo and note taking purposes.
One thing I enjoyed about Medoc is the fact the trails are clearly marked, however that doesn’t mean I took the right turn every single time. At one point, I went a different direction and that turned my 2-mile walk into a 5-mile adventure. It was so worth it though! Even though I was tired and my ankles were sore, the journey was therapeutic, spiritual, affirming and freeing. I never experienced a moderate level trail before and it was a great challenge. Steams, rivers, bridges, uphill climbs and downhill rocks, peaceful noises and freaky noises; oh, and a civil war cemetery right in the middle. That was a bit odd; nonetheless, it was fascinating.
The trip through the wilderness lasted 2 ½ hours. That time included moments of silence, reflection and rest. What I came to realize after the hike was that it was also 2 ½ hours of prayer time with God. As I walked along the banks, God used this time to speak to me. I realized that’s why I didn’t have the urge to listen to my music because I would have drowned out what God wanted to say. It was remarkable and quite the spiritual moment to hear these messages along the way.
Whenever I heard a thought I jotted it down on my phone. Those thoughts turned into lessons learned on a hike and I want to share them with you now. They are in the order that they came to me. Many of them have significant value to what I have been challenged with and fighting during this new life I have in Greenville. I wonder if they might be of some help for you as you travel on the trail and face your challenges too.
Lessons Learned on a Hike
- It’s amazing how fast I can move thru cobwebs.
- I need hiking shoes because worn sneakers won’t cut it and my ankles roll.
- Learn to read hiking maps.
- Look up and walk and stop looking down.
- A mile on the terrain is different than a mile on the track.
- Don’t wear loose fitting underwater on a hike. (yeah, i said that)
- Don’t overdo it.
- If you give up on yourself, you will never get out.
- No matter which way you go, there will always be an uphill battle to climb.
- The harder I work, the harder my Achilles tendons are going work against me.
- What is my Achilles in life?
- When you stand still for a while you will hear some of the most beautiful sounds.
- It is more comfortable when the trail markings are clearly marked. If only life were that comfortable.
- Even when you are sore and hurting, you will feel better about yourself when you get through it.
- Some sounds are still going to creep you out.
- You will always go back to your childhood mantra and sometimes ask, “Are we there yet?”
- Sometimes the trail will be blocked. I have to find a way around it.
- You might want to stretch before you get started.
- Even when I am physically alone, I was never alone.
- I don’t like feeling lost.
- When you think you are totally lost, you just might find yourself right back on track.
- No matter if you see a pretty blue butterfly at the end of a five-mile hike, I am not going backwards to chase after it.
- And in the practice of full disclosure, no, I wasn’t alone, but it would have been nice to have someone there to share the trail with me.
- So, text the friend you know will be so proud of what you did.
- It feels good to know that someone is proud of me. I am.
- Wow. I did it. I did it.
There. That is what I heard along the way. Completing 5 miles was an accident but nonetheless, I accomplished something I have never done before. It was therapeutic, freeing, cleansing, and so peaceful. I was tired but I want to keep doing it. I want to keep having these experiences and these times with God. I know I don’t have to hike to do it,
but hiking brought a sense of balance that I desperately needed. So I’m ready to go again. I have better shoes now (that were on sale too!). I have a book on North Carolina hiking. My journal and pen are in my bag. There is a beautiful day scheduled for Saturday and I plan to get out there and enjoy the moment. I can’t help but wonder, if this is what I learned the first time, what in God’s name will I learn tomorrow?