It was 5 AM, couldn’t sleep and I wasn’t going to wait for the alarm to go off at 5:15. Camelback beckoned. My first hike of the season. Could I do it? Did I even want to make the hike or do what I’ve done all summer (because it was just too hot) and sleep in. No, I was committed. I’d put it off long enough. It was time to get back on board with my hikes. Everything was prepared the night before so all I needed to do was get in my car and get there.
I always found it interesting that even though I was starting out this early in the morning, hikers had already made it to the top and back which I find a little obsessive because that means they must have started hiking at 4 AM. Seriously? And there you have it … my mind already started busying itself with useless chatter. Was I watching what I did? Or was I more interested in what others were doing? There was just enough light to make out the trail blazed by thousands of others that have been on this exact same path. Maybe like life itself … interesting analogy
As I gained momentum the chatter seemed to pick up some speed as well. I found myself jumping and taking small leaps from one side to another. Why was I in a rush? Is this how I live my life? Rushing through things. I began to see the correlation of how I lived my life to how I was managing the hike. My breathing became much more shallow and faster. Anxiety crept in. Would I go all the way to the top? Was it going to get too hot? Would I trip and hurt myself? Was I that sure about my footing? Why wasn’t I paying attention to where I was in the moment? Should I stop to take photos and post on FaceBook or text my friends? The chatter was relentless.
There are areas on Camelback (Echo Canyon Summit Trail) that require you to maneuver around boulders and climb up steep inclines. I hadn’t paused long enough to catch my breath. Yes, I’d done this climb many times before but I still needed to be aware. I could feel myself tiring. My legs tightening. My heart pounding through my chest as it did its best to keep my body nourished and alive with fresh oxygen. Should I stop? Would I regret it if I turned back now? I pressed a little more. Every time I thought I was there another bend proved me wrong.
The hike finally ended on the summit. The prize was the spectacular view as the sun came up over the horizon and lit up the city. Hues of orange and red mixed with yellow as the sun slowly breathed life into the world below. Probably one of the most spiritual connected times of my life have been on this summit watching the sun rise with the dawn of a new day. It calmed me down. I was able to center myself and feel the light wind brush against my sweat soaked skin as it cooled me down. It felt perfect for the moment. Life was good. Perfection arrived in the simplest and most quiet moment.
It reminded me of a scene in the movie Superman where he re-energizes by flying high above the earth to refuel his body with the suns energy. You can see as he clenches his fists his body gets stronger. His veins and muscles all seem bulkier and filled with strength and life. Here too this morning, I was energized. The sun’s light fed my soul and nourished my heart. I was grateful for my moment. I was now ready for the hike down and ready to take on the day.
The trek down was much easier. I always wonder if there is a different way down. A simpler or easier path. Was I even on the right path? Oh crap! That’s right, the chatter began again. Pay attention Frank! Going down is not easier. But I had all the unanswered questions pop in again. Useless, pointless questions that distracted me long enough to slip and scrape my sides and hand. Dammit! I created the fall I did not want. If I could only be sure of my footing. If I could only focus … and be in the moment.
I realize I live my life this way at times. Always wondering, questioning and sometimes leaping when I should take baby steps. I may jump to conclusions (erroneously), make snap decisions that don’t serve me. I can’t stay focused because I am so distracted by everything going on around me and in my mind. And yes, when I can’t focus, I trip and fall and the lesson hits hard.
On my hike I was not aware of my environment. I was far more into my head than on the hike itself. I lost my footing and hurt myself. Life is the same. Be aware of where you are. Lessons arrive when we least expect them. That’s how we grow. However, if we are living in the moment, conscious of our environment and watching or aware of our footing (Higher Self) then we can manage and maneuver through these lesson far more easily as we continue on our journey.