The Rest of the Story

This past weekend I went hiking to Garibaldi Lake in beautiful British Columbia. On Monday I glanced up at a wall calendar, which shows beautiful pictures from places all over Canada. For this month, the photo happened to be…Garibaldi Lake! I can see why; it has some truly breath taking views. Here are a few of my pics, though I’m not sure if they’re calendar-worthy:

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The water is really that blue! It’s from glacial sediment known as “rock flour”.

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I’m always a sucker for wild flowers!

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There’s where all the “rock flour” came from 🙂

However, those pics only show part of the story. We always take photos of the view at the top of the mountain, but not so much of the sweat and work that it took to get there. I’m already forgetting all of the flies that swarmed and bit me on the way up, and the thunderstorm we got caught in on our way to the lake, the blister on my foot, and all of the pain I put my legs through.

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(Don’t cut an emergency blanket to make a rain poncho; it just rips 🙂 )

Memory is a funny thing. Like a photo album, we curate it by what we choose to remember. But perhaps it is good to try maintaining a balance, not only seeing the past through rose colored glasses, but also honoring all of the effort and challenges you went through to make it to those beautiful places. And not only remembering painful times for the misery you went through, but also recognizing all of the good and indirect blessings that might have come from them.

One thing I will remember: always bring a rain jacket on hikes around Vancouver, even in the middle of summer!

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ps – if interested, check out my e-book Easy Hiking Recipes: Simple Meal Ideas for Day Hikes and Other Outdoor Adventures!

What Reading and Hiking Have in Common

Discovering new vistas on the Diez Vistas trail in Vancouver

Discovering new vistas on the Diez Vistas trail in Vancouver

I was a major nerd in school. What am I saying; I still am a nerd! 🙂 But I was a bonafide bookworm all through junior high and high school. I read everything, from Nancy Drew to cheesy historical romances, to Dostoyevsky, to daily newspapers, to sci-fi. I particularly loved reading fantasy novels, and almost exclusively read fiction.

In college I continued to read, but textbook reading tended to take precedence over reading for pleasure. Then when I got out of school, I gave into the trend of reading non-fiction to “better” myself. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s this idea that non-fiction is somehow fiction is a “waste of time” because it’s purely for entertainment, rather than non-fiction which is for educational purposes (like, cooking for instance ;)).

My world was pretty small and boring, but when I read a book, I suddenly escaped to a world of possibilities. I loved nothing better than to escape into a world filled with adventure, where anything could happen.

I love hiking for the same reason. When I was a kid, I found adventures through reading. Then when I discovered hiking (regretfully at the ripe old age of 23), I discovered that I could have adventures in my own life too! I could venture into the unknown, face grueling challenges, and–literally–reach new vistas. This is also the reason I fell in love with martial arts, and rock climbing. To me they are all related.

Writers who dare to dream up a new world have that same sparkle in their eyes as a hiker surveying a new trail to explore. Climbers who tackle a rock crag with 100% focus have the same electric charge radiating from them as a martial artist who is totally engrossed by the form they’re practicing.

Many of our lives are pretty cushy; I know mine is. It’s easy to get lulled into complacency, just going with the flow out of fear or laziness. Hiking keeps the laziness at bay for me.

Life is a great adventure. So put on your hiking boots, or dust off that book you’ve been meaning to read, and join me in discovering some new horizons to explore!

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ps – If interested, check out my e-book Easy Hiking Recipes: Simple Meal Ideas for Day Hikes and Other Outdoor Adventures!