It’s not about the hike (Mondays, with gratitude #16)

Posted by on July 25, 2011

It was a spontaneous decision…an email from a friend, subject heading, “It’s not about the hike, it’s about the journey.” She was proposing an 8 km overnight hike to Seely Beach along the Fundy Footpath and her subject heading couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Bay of Fundy Coastline

Any section of the 41 km long wilderness Fundy Footpath is a formidable hike. Those who complete the grueling 4-day journey must contend with extreme high tides and will traverse a total of almost 20,000 feet of elevation as the footpath follows the rockiest, steepest section of the Bay of Fundy coast. It is neither for the beginner, nor for the unprepared. My companions had all done the full hike before.  I had done only sections.

We would be hiking one of the easier stretches, but it was still not an easy meander.  Temperatures would be +30C and muggy. Could I do it with a 30lb pack? I hadn’t done any serious hiking for over two years and had not backpacked for ten. My companions were considerably younger and definitely more fit. I knew I would slow them down. I had a dozen reasons not to attempt it, but I felt I needed a challenge.  And a chance for an overnight on the coast was too enticing to pass up.

It didn’t start well.  My pack was uncomfortable and kept shifting me off balance. I felt unsteady on my feet…my body not used to the extra weight or the climbing.

But gratitude often goes like this…

181. The privilege of living so close to a magnificent wilderness coastline and being able to appreciate it with remarkable and inspirational friends…old and new.

182. The  humility needed to admit my weakness and limitations. Pride is a hard contender to defeat.

183.  The grace to accept help…a true friend is one who lightens your load when you grow weary, who lifts your spirit when it sags, and encourages you to continue. I am so blessed to have true friends.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

184. The unexpected charity of strangers. Brownies? Really?? In a pan??  On a wilderness hike?

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matt 25:35


185. Pause. Peace. Pleasure. Spending the night wrapped in the midst of God’s wondrous creation…

186. Fine conversations and s’mores by the campfire.

187. Nature’s wonder…a roiling wave of cloud passing overhead – an advancing cold front, pushing our heat wave south.

188. A magical balmy night listening to the surf and watching fireflies dance like stars upon the water.

189. Awakening at 5AM to see the sun crawl over the eastern headland.

190. The quiet confidence that comes from pushing beyond my limits and the blessing of friends to share the journey.

A weekend in the presence of God. A tide that demands we pay attention to it. Things that don’t come too easily. A friend who sacrifices her own comfort for mine, who lightens my load. A young woman who lives a full, appreciative life of respect and who smiles brightly and walks gently in her world. A guy who simply loves to get sweaty, saw logs, go dirty and pee in the woods.

It’s not really about the hike at all, is it?

9 Valued Thoughts on It’s not about the hike (Mondays, with gratitude #16)

  1. Ceci

    I absolutely love this blog and the accompanying photos. And you and your friends are right – it’s all about the journey. Congrats on tackling the challenge.

  2. Deborah Carr

    In this case, my journey was not just about a physical challenge, but admitting my weaknesses and accepting help. As you can see, I am carrying the smallest pack (I started off with the green one on the right). I was so fortunate to have thoughtful, considerate companions who were simply happy to be on the hike and willing to sacrifice their own comfort for mine. And I’ve learned that a good backpack is worth every penny.

  3. Carolynn

    Well done! Thanks for taking me along. *smile*

  4. Lady Fi

    What stunning shots – such glorious views. And those brownies in a pan! There’s a guy who is very well prepared.

  5. Leslie

    your post is reminding me so strongly of an oswald chambers quote that a friend posted on facebook today:

    “‎God is not working toward a particular finish; His end is the process-that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.” ~Oswald Chambers

  6. Deborah Carr

    Leslie, this is perfect. I have come to believe that life is not about achieving goals, but about living and growing through each step of the process.

  7. Jane Tims

    I love the contrast between photos 187 and 189. Evening and sunrise, a perfect pairing. Your blog is inspiring and I’ve begun my own (www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com). Thank you for your guidance during the Writer’s Workshop earlier this month! Jane

  8. Jill Zaheer

    What a magical journey you’ve taken and demonstrated that it is in steps we take- not the finish line that has meaning. Going through some of my old posts for Seth Apter’s Buried Treasure Collab and caught your comment on our Global Guerilla Knit Project. I had selected a posting about designs in nature and loving all of the gorgeous photos and thoughts you’ve used in your post! Just beautiful.

  9. Relyn

    Wow! What a marvelous journey. How great that you said yes. I’ve been a blogging slacker lately. Jeffrey and Sloane were gone for two weeks and I spent that time revelling in being alone, house projects, and silence. Now we are am on a looooong road trip. We’re in Arizona now and I have a bit of time on the computer – finally! I was having withdrawls from being away from my blogger buddies so long, I tell you. I hope your summer gets better and better as it wears on. Love to you and yours.

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