You never know what a day will throw at you. And I suppose, it doesn’t really matter what it is, but more of how you choose to react to it, to embrace it, and to see it with a positive outlook.
Take for example, a day of relentless rain, followed by a day filled with blue-bird skies stretching into and across and infinite horizon. As I stood at Wayah Bald, where an old stone fire tower pierces into the sky, I looked south across a sea of ridges, each fading to a lighter shade of blue. And there, on the farthest horizon, was Mt Albert, another 5,000+ foot peak, and it’s own piercing fire tower. Not more than twenty-four hours earlier did I trudge up the steep, wet and occasionally icy trail to that tower where the views were completely absent. But it didnt bother me. Not one, wet, muddy footstep, bit. And now, at Wayah, a vast landscape captured my attention. The 360-degree view was incredible, flawless, and offered a depth of beauty to gaze out upon and to be grateful for.
One of the most amazing things about hiking at a fast pace is that when I reach places like Wayah Bald, and look back on a day’s worth of solid hiking, I can only be humbled. To see that progress, stretched across a sweeping landscape, is without a doubt a powerful feeling. And further, a motivator to keep chugging along.
Some people think I hike too fast, that I can’t possibly see anything along the way. I think the opposite. I think, perhaps, that I see more. With my trekking poles in hand, my gaze often falls on the horizon, or on the texture in the forest, or the little subtleties that one would think you’d miss if you weren’t stopping to smell those so-called roses. Ultimately, however, you can’t have it all, and along any journey in life, we need to remember to be grateful for what we have and not to be distracted by what we don’t.
I’m sure it won’t all be wonderful and merry on this trip. But for the time being, I’ve been seeing things in a bright light. One step at a time right?
UP NEXT: Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s going to be a low of zero degrees tomorrow, but at least it’ll be bluebird.