I was talking with a friend a couple of weeks ago about his most recent camping trip. It was described to me like something straight out of a Planes, Trains and Automobiles sequel where everything that happened on his trip seemed to go wrong.
We have all been there. The trip you have been planning for weeks or even years is riddled with mishaps, bad weather, accidents and freak occurrences. As I was talking with my friend about his crazy adventure he didn’t really seem to mind that these things had happened. He said, “We still had a great time and it makes for a great story”. I thought back on that for a while. Was it that nature was just so amazing that he didn’t mind that he got TWO flat tires? Or was the scenery so great that he didn’t mind waking floating on his mattress pad because the river his camp was near flooded the night before? I realized that perspective can make all the difference between a bad hiking trip and a memorable adventure.
Maybe, this is why I love the hiking community. Things I would hear regular people complain about in their everyday life are embraced as the experience of the trip. I like to try and take an adventure as it comes. No two adventures are alike. Even if you hike the same trail and camp at the same backcountry site several times a year, no trip will ever be the same and that is OK. Each trip is its own unique adventure and we should embrace it as such. Some of the most wonderful, well-planned trips could be considered a terrible experience by some people.
My first time hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park could be considered by some a complete failure. I even had people I worked with at the time say, “And that is why I will never go camping”. But a Hail storm, twisted ankle and almost impassable trail later and it is one of my favorite trips of all time. Not despite those things, but because of them.
I don’t say this to have people not plan and walk into the back-country unprepared, please make sure you plan and prepare! I say this to let people know it is OK if your trip doesn’t go as you planned. I certainly know there are situations that are more serious than others, but those little things that you can’t control, like the weather or losing half your water supply in the first couple of miles of your 12 hour hike because it fell out of your pack down the side of a mountain as I watched..you watch helplessly in agony.* Don’t let these things ruin your adventure, because when it comes down to it you are as happy as you want to be.
*Please Note this situation may or may not have happened to me, but that was my favorite water bottle and I almost cried as I watched is tumble into oblivion! And that is why I always pack a water filter. See my last blog post for tips!
Waiting out a hail storm in Rocky Mountain National Park.
It may not look like a long way down, but that is WAAAYYYYY down there. And no one would be able to get back up.