So there we were, hiking back down from the summit of one of the most iconic monoliths on the face of this earth, Half Dome. It was an amazing hike! The beauty of Yosemite is staggering and there is almost nothing that makes you feel more alive than the smell of the forrest. Our group started the hike a little later than we wanted but, after about 8.5 miles, we made it to the summit from the cable climb and we stood there gazing over the valley below, overwhelmed with it’s almost indescribable beauty. We knew we’d be a little pressed for time on our return but we lingered a bit more and I took a walk by myself on a leftover field of snow before we headed back. Being at the summit of Half Dome is amazing!
We made our way down the cables and started our hike back down the well marked and somewhat crowded trail. Traveling in a group is not the best for making good time. You want to know what else isn’t? Twisting an ankle with seven more miles of downhill hiking and only about three hours of sunlight left. One of the gals in our group stepped off a rock wrong and went down. We could tell it hurt and the swelling started setting in. Slowly we went. The sun was starting to set on the valley as we arrived at the top of Nevada Falls. We stopped for a bit to rest and stick her leg in the freezing water to see if we could get the pain and swelling to subside just a bit. We started back down again and the light was fading quickly. We weren’t too worried, though, because like I said earlier, it is a well marked trail and it was only about another three and a half miles away. Well, it is if you take the right trail. The sun had set, the light had gone, and we had only two dim headlamps that I, at the last minute, had stuck in my pack “just in case”. We all got caught up in our conversations. It was a good distraction from the pain in our knees and feet and we were really enjoying each other’s company. We came to an area that opened up a bit and there was a trail that went off to the left. It seemed correct. We went left. We were actually supposed to continue on a bit before turning left.
We were on the wrong path for a long while before we even realized we had taken a wrong turn.
We were lost. In Yosemite. At night. There are bears in Yosemite! And mountain lions! Once we realized we were not on the right path, all of the bears and mountain lions in the forest started growling at us. At least in my mind they were. We finally made it back at about 11:30pm to a random spot in the park where we could catch a bus to where the car was. We were way off course! We were tired, sore, sweaty, and cold but thankful to have not been the midnight snack of some wild animal.
Last week we discussed in Part 1 that it’s important for us to set up personal roadblocks so we don’t lose our lives. That if we are not careful to set up a system to slow us down and establish a deep rooted source that makes up the core of who we are, we will quite literally lose our identity to someone else’s agenda.
We Need to Intentionally Set Up Personal Roadblocks:
1. So We Don’t Lose Our Lives
2. So We Don’t Lose Our Way
We were fortunate to have experienced just a little bit of discomfort and come out with a good story to tell, no worse for the wear. But, the potential for a pretty disastrous outcome was there and it was all due to a few factors that correlate with all of our lives.
When we get caught up in life’s circumstances and don’t have the vision or the tools to gauge where we are headed we will lose our way.
When I was young our family would regularly take trips out to the dunes in our Southern California desert to ride our ATV’s. It was a vast and barren area where every dune you rode over appeared very similar to the last and it was easy to lose your bearing. My father taught me a method of navigation in case I was ever separated from our group. I was to go to the top of one of the dunes and look for the radio tower that stood high above a spot near the road that led to our camp. I knew that road. If I could get to that tower, I could get to our camp. Even miles and miles into the dunes, I knew where I was and how to navigate back. Our life is no different. We need healthy practices and routines that help us navigate the times of life when we feel like we’ve lost our way.
Action Step: Establish Life Giving Routines that Keep You on the Right Path
Here are five basic routines that I find critical in keeping me on the right path. You might consider how you could develop your own basic routines or adapt these to your life.
- Soul Care
- Developing Close Relationships
- Sleep Habits
These routines are not the end-all, be-all to staying on the right path. But, if we discipline ourselves to practicing these five routines, they will go a long way in acting as guides or roadblocks that will assist in keeping us on the right path. And, when we have taken that wrong turn, reengaging in these routines will help us get back on track.
Have you ever felt like you took a wrong turn? How did you recognize it? Leave us comment below and let us know how you get back on track or how you plan to get back on track.
If you have found this post helpful, would you share it with someone you think could benefit from it too? We would greatly appreciate it!
Here’s a few more pictures from our Half Dome hike in 2009. And don’t forget to jump in next week as we hit Part 3.