My favourite part of hiking is the journey. Yes, the destination is pretty awesome, but the real reason I enjoy hiking so much is all the moments along the way that make the hike my hike.
The Tour du Mont Blanc was a 10-day loop, from Chamonix to Chamonix (in France). Over that time, we hiked a cumulative 10, 000 metres up, 10, 000 metres down, and 130 kilometres through the French, Italian and Swiss Val Ferrets of the Alps. The sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that I felt at the end of it was great, but it wasn’t for the destination that I did this hike.
I did it for the new friends, the stories and the inside jokes. I did it for the food. I did it for every moment in which I proved myself wrong (every successful crossing of sketchy terrain, and every time I survived both ascents and descents on treacherous 80 degree slope – sometimes with a twisted ankle and always carrying a very heavy backpack), as well as those moments in which I learned my limits. I did it for the laughs (there were many), the tears (there were, I’m not going to lie, a few), and the awe that I felt toward the breathtaking vista almost every moment of every day.
The Inca Trail, Mount Huang Shan, Baiji Mountain, hikes in Huangzhou, hikes in Tombstone Territorial Park, and even hikes on the tundra here in Tasiujaq – same thing.
And if you’ll pardon the cliché, I like to approach life in much the same way. It’s not about the destination. Yes, grow, make goals and achieve, but don’t overlook the awesome that is the journey. The quotation, and especially the video below sum this up quite nicely.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
-Henry David Thoreau