Enjoying the outdoors not only does your health favors but also can teach you things that you’d never learn within the four walls of a classroom, office, or your own home. Friends or relatives who’ve gone on a hike may likely tell you there’s nothing like being at the mercy of Mother Nature and that you’ve got to experience it to truly understand it.
To give you clues on what life lessons hiking has in store for you, take a look a few of those as listed below.
Nature’s Power Is Humbling
When you’re out trekking through a trail with the hot sun beating down on your back and making sweat pour out from parts of your body you didn’t realize could even sweat, your head clamors for the shade, for that air-conditioned room where you can take refuge whenever the heat is too much. What if your route has nothing of the sort? What if you can’t stop walking so you don’t get delayed at your next destination (and hence get some of the much-needed rest)?
You realize the power of nature and how you’re virtually helpless in the face of it. When a blizzard suddenly turns up, you have to find cover quick. When the rain pours, you have to stop a bit and wait for it to mellow down before you continue. You learn to respect the force of nature and actually be in awe of it.
You Can Do More Than You Think You Can
There’s that quote about you never knowing what you’re fully capable of if you don’t try, or get out of your comfort zone, in the case of outdoor activities. After hiking for what seems like hours on end and finally reaching your destination, you realize that you still have something to give even during moments when you think you’re too tired to go on. You strengthen your ability to focus and stay in the present. And this new knowledge about your capabilities is very empowering. You finally understand what “mind over matter” is really all about.
Your Fears Are Bigger Than They Actually Are
One look at the steep mountain face you’re supposed to hike up and you’re feeling jittery already. You want to stop things right here right now. What were you thinking?
Then you realize if you don’t go through it with your companions, you’ll be left to fend for yourself alone on the trail. Or you will just delay the entire thing. So you muster enough courage and just go through it, taking it one step at a time. “Just do it,” a voice within tells you. When you reach the top, you look down and realize that the steepness is an illusion – it’s actually more passable than it looks. And all you needed to do to get past the fear is a deep breath and a blind daring or belief that if others have gone through it successfully, you can too. And this is something you will find useful in other challenges in your life!
The Unexpected Can Be Wonderful
Expect the unexpected, so they say. It’s also very much the case when it comes to outdoor endeavors like hiking. Thing is, rather than being annoying, the unexpected turns in your trek can actually be fantastic. Like, for example, getting lost on a trail and accidentally finding a beautiful pool of fresh water. Or being late to your next stop and having to spend the night where you are and waking up to one of the most gorgeous sunrises you’ve ever seen. Some of these unexpected events can be life-changing and even get you forging new and lasting friendships.
You Need Less Than You Think
You want to make sure you got everything you need on the trail so you pack everything in. Sort of. Then you realize that, on your 3-day trek, you only really need just 2-3 tops and 2 bottoms at most, not double that quantity, thanks to the river you pass by or the purifying quality of sunlight and fresh air. And you didn’t have to bring all that kitchen gear to rustle up a satisfying meal while at camp.
As such, hiking teaches you the wisdom of sticking to the bare essentials and that the lesser your baggage, the higher the level of enjoyment on your outdoor adventure. And the more prepared you actually are for the unexpected.
Focusing on the Present Helps You Survive and Feel More Alive
If you keep dwelling on the number of miles or hours you still have to trudge to reach your next destination, don’t be surprised if you feel tired or dispirited the entire time. You’ll notice time flies or just flows by when you just focus on making sure your foot is landing in the right places, that you don’t bump into a trunk, that you’re holding on to a stable rock or root, and that you’re keeping your breathing rhythmic and regular.
Also, you’re more likely to notice the wonderful scenery around you and actually enjoy being able to hurdle the obstacles along the path as you go. Before you know it, you’re where you’re supposed to be already!