I have set an ambitious goal to see all the National Parks during my lifetime. Sometimes, life gets in the way and that goal seems just a little bit further than possible.
This post is about finding the strength and hope to reach your goals whatever they may be. We all get busy with life. Work, Kids, Family, Friends, Our Homes and Hobbies, they all take a piece of the limited 24 hours of our day.
Some days it might be best to reflect on why you want to reach your goals? If it’s seeing the National Parks, then what sparked that initial interest and passion. Was the feeling of being in nature the closest thing you felt to feeling free and fulfilled?
For me, it started 15 years ago. I was having a hard time understanding where my life was going. I had just got out of the military and moved halfway around the country to start a new life. Things weren’t as easy as I thought they would be. Finding a new career, in a new place, with a new marriage, presented some real challenges.
I decided to escape to a place where I knew I’d stretch myself. I packed what I thought would be the essentials in a day-pack from REI and went on a 3 day backpacking trip to Yosemite. There is a reason they call them day-packs, they fit just about enough to make it for a day. Imagine stuffing enough to live for 3 days in that thing. I made a lot of mistakes in packing but I made it…that’s the important part.
The Tuolumne Meadows was my route. Once I left my car and headed for the trail (wilderness permit and bear can included), I immediately knew that this was where I should be. All the worries, the fears, the hustle and bustle of life around people faded and the sights and smells of Yosemite flooded my senses.
Hikers were friendly and when it started to get dark on the first night, I set up camp off the trail. When I woke the next morning, I went further down the river. All of nature came alive.
Whenever I start to think that I won’t be able to reach my goal, I just recall that trip and the life lessons I learned along the trail in Yosemite. It motivates me to keep positive and find time to plan the next trip.
I hope this inspires a few of you to also visit a National Park (whether it’s your first time or you’ve been before), it can change your life. Go beyond just the signs and turnoffs, explore a trail or two, even if it’s only a mile long. The journey is worth every minute.