Hiking The Canadian Rockies – The Canadian Rockies are a hiker’s paradise, offering a plethora of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts like myself. From climbing and kayaking to biking and trail running, there is no shortage of activities to indulge in. But above all, hiking in the Canadian Rockies is an experience that truly surpasses expectations. With countless trails catering to various skill levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging mountain summits, every hike promises breathtaking views. Picture awe-inspiring glacial lakes reflecting icy blue hues, snow-capped peaks piercing the sky, lush pine forests, striking rock formations, and cascading waterfalls.
Hiking goes beyond physical exercise or capturing Instagram-worthy photos. It imparts valuable life lessons at every turn. As I lace up my boots, double-check my bear spray, and hoist my backpack, I eagerly anticipate the adventure ahead. While we each embark on our hiking journeys for different reasons, we can share the invaluable lessons acquired along the way. Allow me to share ten of these life lessons that I’ve gleaned from my hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
- Always be prepared
- Trust your instincts
- Keep moving forward
- Step by step, anything is achievable
- A positive attitude can work wonders
- Our planet is a magnificent place that requires protection
- Slow down and savor life
- Nature provides clarity
- Life is filled with ups and downs
- Everyone has their own goals—and that's okay
- The reward is always worth it
Always be prepared
Preparing for your hike and anticipating the weather is crucial, but it’s equally vital to be ready for anything that comes your way. In the Rockies, you can experience all four seasons in a single day, spend more time on a mountain than expected, lose track of the trail, or encounter unexpected wildlife. Trust me, I’ve experienced frostbite, and sunburn, and encountered ticks all in one day! That’s why it’s essential to pack extra clothing layers, carry bear spray, have an ample supply of water and snacks, and bring along a map or GPS. The lesson here is simple: be prepared for anything and embrace the unexpected. This principle translates directly to our daily lives as we learn to be adaptable and let go of rigid expectations.
Trust your instincts
Whether it’s choosing which trail to follow or deciding where to place your next step, hiking teaches us to trust our instincts and have confidence in our choices. When you’re teetering on the edge of a slip, it’s crucial to believe in yourself and know that you won’t fall. Similarly, life presents us with decisions where our instincts play a vital role. Trust that inner voice guiding you towards the right path and have faith in your decisions.
Keep moving forward
Life often resembles a challenging and lengthy trail. Along this journey, we can easily become overwhelmed by obstacles, disappointments, or rejections. We may be tempted to abandon our dreams altogether. However, hiking offers a valuable lesson: as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other and persist, progress is inevitable.
Step by step, anything is achievable
During some of my longer hikes, I’ve glanced at the map, expecting to see the end within reach, only to discover that there’s still a long way to go. In the past, encountering such obstacles would cause me to unravel, wasting precious energy on frustration. But now, I’ve learned to channel that frustration into determination. Once you remove expectations and idealistic attachments, it becomes as simple as taking one step after another.
A positive attitude can work wonders
There are moments along the trail when I catch myself wondering, “Why am I doing this?” Hiking can be physically and mentally demanding, leading to frustration and exhaustion. However, complaining about it doesn’t make the experience any easier for ourselves or our companions. It’s remarkable how much impact a positive attitude can have. Choosing positivity in the face of adversity helps us overcome challenges both on and off the mountain.
Our planet is a magnificent place that requires protection
Hiking allows us to witness firsthand the breathtaking beauty of our planet. The more we explore and immerse ourselves in nature, the more critical it becomes to protect it. Standing atop a mountain summit offers a perspective that drives home this realization. But instead of merely talking about protecting our planet, it’s time for us to take action. We can pick up litter during our hikes, be mindful of our use of single-use plastics, and support causes and brands like Ten Tree, which plants ten trees with every purchase. It’s an effortless way to contribute to the preservation of our planet while joining a larger community and movement.
Slow down and savor life
In our fast-paced world, it often feels like everyone is rushing toward the next big thing. But why are we in such a hurry? Isn’t life meant to be cherished and experienced, rather than merely lived? Hiking teaches us to slow down, appreciate the surrounding scenery, and listen to nature’s symphony. Life is an incredible journey, and hiking allows us to reflect on the importance of slowing down, appreciating every moment, and letting go of worries about future or non-existent concerns.
Nature provides clarity
When the noise of city life becomes overwhelming, and our minds refuse to quiet down, nature offers solace and perspective. Sometimes, the best way to find ourselves is by getting lost in nature. Immersing ourselves completely in the natural world allows us to silence the anxious thoughts and distractions that often consume us. The rustling of leaves becomes a calming soundtrack, providing space for deep contemplation. When we reach the mountaintop, we can absorb it all—the sights, sounds, and stillness.
Through hiking, we have the unique opportunity to disconnect from the modern world. With no TV, cell service, or internet access, we become more connected with nature and, in turn, ourselves. Walking on these trails leads to profound introspection, a chance for soul-searching that can extend beyond our hiking experiences and into our everyday lives.
Life is filled with ups and downs
We’ve all experienced that moment when we believe we’ve reached the summit, only to realize it’s a false peak, requiring us to descend before ascending once more toward the true summit. At times, we may even take a wrong turn and need to retrace our steps. Life mirrors this pattern, with challenges and setbacks inevitably surfacing on our path to success. Learning to adapt and adjust during these ups and downs is a valuable lesson that hiking imparts.
Everyone has their own goals—and that’s okay
Hiking exposes us to a diverse range of people, each with their own goals and aspirations. Some strive to conquer towering summits, while others prefer leisurely walks to serene lakes. Neither group is superior to the other, and judgment holds no place in the trail. It’s essential to appreciate that everyone has their own journey and objectives. Along the way, we may encounter individuals with “small” goals who judge us for our “unrealistic” ambitions. Likewise, we might catch ourselves looking down upon those with “mediocre” goals. In reality, we should focus solely on our own aspirations, pursuing them at our own pace and crushing them with unwavering determination.
The reward is always worth it
The harder we push ourselves and the more effort we invest, the greater the reward becomes. As we persevere alongside our hiking companions, urging each other toward the summit, the sense of accomplishment intensifies. And when we finally reach the pinnacle, we can savor the majestic views that only a select few have witnessed. The effort we exerted will be undeniably rewarded. But let us not forget that the view at the end is not the only beautiful aspect—the entire journey is a breathtaking experience in itself.