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We took a short camping trip the other day for a few nights, and this hiking trip just like every other one really showed me that there is more to hiking than just walking. Hiking long distances and camping in not-so-comfortable conditions is physically draining and, if you let yourself, you can quickly fall into fatigue. It’s in situations like these where you have to mentally overcome your tiredness and pains and keep on going.
Sometimes it can be pretty hard; for instance, on the hike we just took it was the last day and we were still about five hours from the house when I started getting really achy and ran a low fever. All I could think about was how far we still had to go to reach the house and how achy I was. After a few hours I was worn out and felt like taking a 30-minute break, but I had to force myself to think on happy things. I started reciting poems and verses to myself, and I thought about what Mom was making for dinner, and, above all, my warm bed. I had to keep telling myself that we were “almost there,” and eventually we made it back to the house.
Another important thing to remember on hiking trips is that everyone is tired, so when someone does something kind or helpful it’s important to be thankful. On the trail every step is exerting, so when people are ahead and walk back five steps to give you a hand over a slippery log it’s important to thank them. Keeping everyone happy and in good humor is important for the long run. Having a good attitude and being thankful plays a big role when you're on the trail. Encouragement is also a huge motivator to keep you going.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Being quick to help with shelter, gathering firewood, unpacking, or cooking is really a good characteristic to have when on a hike. After a long hike, when you finally reach a camping spot, the first reaction is to sit down and close your eyes and let everyone else get to work. But you have to remember that everyone is just as tired as you, so finding something useful to do and getting the camp set up helps the whole team. The people I've hiked with that have that type of attitude go a long way.
One thing I always remember when I'm on a hard hike is that as soon as we get home and are all sitting around the dinner table we will look back and laugh at the hardships we endured. If we never had hardships on the trail, what stories would we have to bring back? So it is through this life. The Bible makes a promise to those who follow Him—that they will go through hardships, suffering, and trials. Because of this, we should embrace the suffering and lean on Christ in all situations. As I always like to say, “in easy times or hard, take everything in stride.”
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