When I first started this blog, I mentioned that one of big mistakes I knew I was making as a twenty-something was not taking the time to travel. I had always thought that traveling meant spending large amounts of money on a flight to some fancy destination, and never thought to simply explore the world around me.
I’ve recently began trying to become more active, and wanted to incorporate fun ways to get a workout in. So, I thought, why not a hike? After randomly searching for hikes to do near Los Angeles, I eventually found my way to Cahuenga Peak, also known as the Wisdom Tree Trail.
I didn’t read much about the trail before deciding to do it, and simply thought that it would be a hike like any other. Maybe a few creeks or two on the way before finally reaching some “magic tree”. After getting lost and driving around for nearly two hours, I finally found the bottom of the Wisdom Tree Trail. When I saw how high up the tree actually was, I questioned if I could even make it to the top.
You could only reach the tree by following a trail up, what to me was, a large mountain full of rocky terrain. It was nothing like any of the hikes I had done before and I felt doubt slowly beginning to creep in. Despite my feelings of uncertainty, my friend and I headed towards the tree that hopefully would provide us with at least a drop of the wisdom it boasted.
While heading up the trail I was admittedly fearful of falling, but surprised at the view I was able to see not even halfway up the mountain. Gazing down at the city, nature and a gorgeous lake made me immediately grateful that I decided to wake up and start my day like this.
As we continued, the trail only became more difficult. I felt myself becoming fatigued with every continuous step. As we became closer and closer to reaching the Wisdom Tree, and I began to see a small view of the flag that signaled the end of the hike, I forced myself to keep pushing.
When we finally reached the top, were not only rewarded with the view. To my surprise, we were able to physically receive the bits of wisdom we originally sought after choosing to embark on what we knew would be a difficult journey.
Unlike anything I imagined, at the bottom of the Wisdom Tree sat boxes of journals. In them, were stories and pieces of advice from people who had all finished the hike. They contained notes from people of all walks of life. I read entries from recovering addicts celebrating sobriety, mothers and daughters sharing a moment they’d never thought they’d achieve together and people who were expressing their gratitude for simply being alive and enjoying life.
With all the recent tragedies occurring back to back, I couldn’t help but be touched and inspired by all the stories and words of wisdom that were shared at the bottom of this tree. Throughout all the stories that were shared in the journals, there seemed to be one underlying theme- live in the moment and live everyday as if it’s your last.
It’s easy to take things for granted when you are surrounded by blessings everyday. What we fail to realize sometimes is that everything we have in our life, no matter how small, is something that we can be grateful for. It’s so easy to get caught up in appreciating what we don’t have and making ourselves unhappy by chasing material possessions. It’s important that we realize the simple act of waking up and getting another chance to make it through another day is a blessing within itself. Reading people’s stories who thought they’d never get a chance to spend another day on Earth, or make it to a point in their life where they could appreciate being on top of that mountain was a reminder of that.
Hiking the Wisdom Tree trail was something that challenged me and, initially, invoked self-doubt. Despite being unsure if I would finish, I pushed past my insecurities and focused on the end goal. It’s funny how something as simple as hiking a trail can teach you lessons that are applicable to everyday life.