Hiking Is Like Life

Hiking is a lot like life!


If you’ve ever gone on a long, hot, arduous hike, you know how closely it relates to life.   Sometimes it’s really high and challenging and other times it is low, boring and mundane. Life is a lot like a hike!
hiking is like life
Topanga State Park
One hike stands out in my mind. I was leading a hike for the residents of a drug and alcohol treatment facility.  The residents are adjusting to a lot so, naturally, they aren’t always pleasant and cooperative.


One woman on the hike was almost always complaining.  She only wanted to go on hikes that started with a steep up hill. Anything that didn’t start hard wasn’t enough for her, she wanted to work hard and enjoyment was not part of the plan for her.
hiking is like life
Clumpy mud trail

This hike was such a lesson for all involved.  We started out and the trail was muddy.  It had just rained for a week and the mud was cakey and clay like. 


As we walked, our shoes gathered enough mud after 10 steps to feel like we were wearing platform shoes!


It was not pleasant and we were kicking and flinging the mud off every minute.  We made the best of it and laughed every time we flung the mud off.  Karri was not happy, she was swearing loudly and wanted to turn back.


I’ve been on that trail enough to know that the dirt was going to change.  Not only was the mud thick and caking all over our shoes, but we were going DOWN hill!  Karri was NOT happy since she likes to work hard right out of the gates!


I urged the group forward, letting them know to hang in there…the trail would change as we got down into the canyon. 


Karri continued bitching and complaining, “where’s the hill–this mud is ridiculous, I’m going back to the car.”  “No, I promise you, this dirt is going to change and the mud will not be sticking to our shoes,”  I said, determined to keep her on course.


“Where’s the fucking hill,” she screamed.  I assured her the hill was coming.  As we got down into the canyon, the dirt did change and having no mud stick to our shoes was a relief.  Unfortunately, it didn’t make Karri happy because it was a flat valley with no hill in sight.  The moaning continued, “where is the fucking hill?”


Finally, we came to the trailhead that lead up and out of the canyon. 


Off she went, this was what she needed.  She explained that she always had incredible epiphanies when she climbed the hills.  She was happy and the swearing stopped.


As the group continued climbing, Karri had already reached the peak and ran back down the hill to turn around again to get more of a workout.  Once at the top, we had some pleasant rolling hills that led to our descent back into the canyon. 


Unfortunately, the descent got really steep and once again, the swearing began AGAIN!


The steep descent is not pleasant, I agree, because you have to hold yourself back a bit and it’s hard! 

hiking is like life
Backbone Descent!
It was way too steep and she was pissed.  Her loud swearing echoed throughout the canyon and the whole group had to endure the negative energy even though they were enjoying themselves immensely. 


Finally, that stage subsided and we were ready to climb out of the canyon back to the car.   Karri and I talked about the hike.  I asked her to look at it like life. 


Here is how Hiking Is Like Life:

  • Sometimes life gets sticky and clingy and it’s hard to shake it off.  Just like walking through the mud, if we just keep moving forward, we get through the mucky stuff of life and find the calm again.
  • Life can feel a little boring and mundane, much like the valley we climbed down into.  If we make the best of it and keep moving forward, this too will pass and life will get exciting again.
  • The thrill of the hill arrives.  We feel energy, passion, and exhilaration.  Life is exciting and we feel fully alive.  Ideas flood into our mind and we are inspired to take on anything that comes our way.  Life is good and we are living it fully!
  • Then, life can’t always be such a high and we must expect times that aren’t so triumphant. Life can roll along giving us slight thrills mixed with rest.  Easy.
  • When life moves too fast and it’s downhill, it’s too much, it’s uncomfortable!
  • Keep moving forward, don’t turn around or you’ll have to go through all the challenges we just endured again!



That hike was such a mirror of life for all of us.  Karri really saw it.  She got it.  She shared what she got with the group therapy session that night and it was the highlight of her 30 day stay.


The key to life and hiking the trails is to enjoy wherever you are on your trail. 


Know you will make it to your destination, you just need to go through it to get to it…might as well make the best of it!

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