Monday, January 05, 2009

Packing What You Need

I spent New Year's week visiting a good friend in Palm Springs California. After the harsh Christmas storms that we had in the Seattle area, I am reveling in the warmth of the glorious sunshine!

We hiked or walked each day that I was there. It felt amazing to experience the blue skies and sunshine while soaking in the beauty of the surrounding snow frosted mountains.

We departed for our longest hike onto a desert mountain trail in sleeveless shirts and lightweight exercise pants. I personally was quite comfortable, even a little on the warm side when we set out. As we climbed in altitude, the air temperature dropped. I got chilly and put on my long sleeved jacket. I was comfortable again. I had anticipated the temperature drop and brought the right piece of clothing to deal with it.

As we climbed higher and higher, however, the wind began to kick up. It got stronger and stronger until we were quite uncomfortable. My ears were freezing! I didn't have a hat, or a headband, or my favorite hiking accessory, ear bags that slip over your ears and keep them toasty warm in frigid temperatures! (I included a link above for the official ear bags website, but you can also find them at

When I had contemplated that hike, I knew that it would be cooler the higher we hiked, but I hadn't thought about the fact that there could also be wind up there! It was perfectly calm where we started. Looking up into the mountains, I couldn't see the wind. Yet... it was there, all the while, blowing quite vigorously.

It reminded me that we can't always see the obstacles or challenges that we will encounter along our path. The best we can do is try to anticipate what we might need, and pack it along with us on our journey. Sometimes we will have what we need, and other times we won't. Sometimes we can pick up the needed items along the way and other times we can't.

In this case, the cold wind turned us around and we didn't do the full distance we intended to hike. It reminded me, once again, that sometimes we don't reach our destination on our first attempt. Sometimes we need to backtrack, regroup, gather more resources and try again.

The important part is the process and what we learn along the way, not the end result.

Happy Hiking

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