Updated: Jun 14, 2020
Prior to December 30, 2018, I never hiked a trail. I didn't know what to expect or what the outcome would be. In the back of my mind, I thought I would get eaten by a bear. Nevertheless, the experience was one hell of an eye-opener... and if it's okay with you, I'd like to share some life principles I learned.
Before the time of this post, I was undergoing intense amounts of stress for many reasons. In a way, things felt almost routine, and with the holidays coming and going I never got a chance to relax. You know, you have to catch up with the families, the gossip, and then the other shoe drops right at the worst time. Taking this spontaneous trip was much needed as I realized how much unnecessary noise society can put on a person. By the end of this naturally-raw and quiet trip, I learned 5 principles about life.
A FEW PHOTOS OF PETIT JEAN STATE PARK
1) Layout The Game Plan
For anywhere you want to go, you need a sense of direction. If you don't lay out your path, you're not going to be able to reach your destination... you're mindlessly wandering around.
That's kind of what happened to our group. We showed up at the start of the trail, the park's lodge, and made the descent. This challenging hike was about 2.6 miles to get to the falls and back to lodge. I didn't know that. It took nearly all day to hike, and we certainly did not get a chance to explore the whole thing. By 6 pm-ish it got very dark and we had to call it quits or we would have been left stranded in the dark wilderness.
2) Get The Proper Tools
A strong foundation is everything to accomplishing your goals. For this hike, you wouldn't have made it if you didn't have lots of water, protein-packed snacks, hiking boots, and a backpack to carry it all. Anything you plan to accomplish needs to have a preparation. If it doesn't, you're building yourself a house of cards that will eventually come crawling down. This is one thing I made sure to do as I truly thought I would have been stranded out in the park.
3) Take The First Step
After you prepared your plan with a strategy and the tools, you can start pushing forward. If you know exactly know where you want to be, take start hiking the trail. It's not a straight line, its a trail.
When I descended from the lodge, I thought it was going to be that easy. Boy was I wrong. It got harder and harder as the group and I trenched on. However, because I was already on my way to the falls there was no reason to go back.
4) Adversity Is The Challenge & Adaptability Is The Key
Life is all about overcoming adversity. You need to be resilient if you want to get to where you want to be. Short and simple, you're going to hit obstacles, but you need to think on the spot to develop quick tactics to solve those impromptu problems.
Although I had decent boots for hiking, I still slipped on numerous occasions. What I did to combat that was quickly adapt to the trail. If this meant that I had to get off the "natural path," use a walking stick. or tread slowly on certain surfaces then that I did. It got me to the falls and back to the lodge.
5) Stamina Sustains & Speed Kills
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I know that sounds like a paradox, but if you have a strong foundation, all the right tools, and the determination to overcame adversity, you will eventually get to where you want to be.
If I tried running this trail I probably would have broken my leg. Literally! The falls alone is gorgeous, but those rocks are sneakingly slippery. I saw other travelers almost bust their head open... a busted open head 1.3 miles from civilization is a long hike. Take your time toward your goals with accuracy, strategy, and calculated risk.
If you develop a cohesive game plan with time-specific and measurable goals, the only thing that's left is for you to take action using the necessary tools to do so. Yes, you will have hiccups along the way, but isn't that normal? That's why is called a plan and not a rule. You don't know what to expect.
Many people are going to tell you to take your time, which I agree to an extent, but your stamina, resilience, and ability to adapt to adversity are what's going to drive you forward in life. Just don't too long for taking the first step forward. You may get a thing called analysis paralysis. Let me know in the comments your thoughts about goal-setting?
To Your Success,