Lessons from the trails

I’ve been meaning to write about the lessons I learned from the trails for awhile, but you know, it’s been quite a year and I keep getting distracted by other things.

Because of the coronavirus, our original vacation plans were drastically altered. I’m sure we’re not the only ones! Even still, we feel extremely grateful that we were able to get out of the house for a few days. We really wanted to explore some of the beauty of the outdoors since we’d seen about all we wanted of indoors this year. We both talk all the time about the healing power of nature, and I know I felt I needed it more than ever this year if I was going to be able to continue my work as a Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist, and Lead Trainer. So we went off in search of relaxation for sure, but also for inspiration so we can do our work well. Turned out to be a good decision!

Our first trail was short and quite easy – just a mile and a half or so from the parking lot to the viewpoint on a wide and well-kept walkway. Even still – I misjudged it and wore sandals, when I really should’ve worn sneakers. Ugh! While the views were STUNNING, and we definitely timed it right for sunset photos, my feet were really not having it on the way back to the car. I ended up wearing Brad’s shoes and he walked BAREFOOT so I could be more comfortable. The first of so many lessons I learned…

Lesson #1 – Traveling companions are worth their weight in gold! And extra-special ones will even let you wear their shoes! ; )

For our next adventure, you’d better believe I had on the right shoes! This trail was considerably longer and more challenging. It was even quite a bit warmer that we expected. Lots of switchbacks and long expanses with no shade might have taken their toll if we hadn’t brought enough water! Thankfully we did! We even brought more than we thought we’d need. That was a GREAT decision! Because we DID need it! We were able to enjoy all the ups and downs and unexpected turns because we were well-prepared. One of the best lessons my mom ever taught me! An absolutely lovely day enjoying the beauty of the spires of rocks!

So much taller in person!

Lesson #2: You’ll never go wrong by packing extra water.

After a good long day enjoying the beauty of Bryce Canyon, we headed to find some dinner and a place to rest. We found a lovely lodge restaurant that had delicious food and had the great pleasure of enjoying it out on the patio in the fresh mountain air. We lingered over that dinner, chatting about all the things we had seen during our hike and enjoying the cool, refreshing evening.

I guess we had been there long enough to blend in with the scenery, because all of a sudden we were joined by the cutest little forest creature! He even came right up to my feet and attempted to get a drink of my water! I’m sure the little guy is no stranger to people since he lives right by the lodge, but it still felt nice to be accepted and trusted with his presence. Stillness is one of the most important lessons to revisit on a regular basis.

Our dinner companion

Lesson #3: When you pause and sit quietly for a little while, the nature comes to you and makes friends.

The next day was more of a driving day and we didn’t do too much sight seeing. We found a good place to stay and after grabbing some dinner, Brad wanted to go for “short walk.” Ahem. SEVEN MILES LATER we were heading home for the night. I will admit that my initial resistance and irritation kept me from enjoying the journey, as they say, but when I finally decided to get over my upset and look around, I was in awe of all that surrounded us! We had gone deep enough away from the main road that we saw deer and moose and turkeys! The beautiful rocks of the canyon turned vibrant with the sunset and when I soaked it all in, it soothed my soul. The beauty was there the whole time\, of course. I just had to CHOOSE to see it to really get the benefits. Sometimes we resist the lessons, but when we relax, they are so much easier!

Vibrant blues and oranges and greens!

Lesson #4: No matter where you are, the beauty is already there. Choose to open your eyes and SEE it.

Our last big day was certainly a big finale! We hiked The Narrows at Zion National Park. I was a little nervous going in because I have never done a hike that is even a little bit in the water on purpose, much less a several hour hike in water almost the entire time. We had prepared with the right shoes and socks and all, but I just didn’t know what to expect.

In case you don’t know this, I can be a bit of a delicate flower. I don’t like to be wet, or dirty. I don’t like cold or wind. But with that said, if I KNOW ahead of time, I’m pretty good about being able to prepare myself and choose how I will respond. So, I went with as little expectation as possible, and an open mind for the experience. And OH MY GOODNESS. I’m not sure I have ever enjoyed a day of hiking more! Turns out I kinda like sloshing around in the water and not caring if I’m wet or not! Who would’ve guessed??? I got lost in the joy and wonder of it all probably BECAUSE I didn’t need or expect it to be anything. I was simply open for the experience to unfold in whatever way. I’m so happy I made this choice. It turned out to be one of my favorite vacation memories of all time!

Lesson #5: When you let go of expectations, experiences can be fully experienced. And isn’t that what we really want anyway?

Thoroughly enjoying the beautiful lessons along the journey!