Hiking up a mountain and the lessons learnt

Have you ever found yourself embarking on something you know very little about or what the end result would be?

Sometimes, it may even feel like a spur-of-the-moment decision that you haven’t given too much thought to.

This was me a few years ago when I decided to hike up the highest mountain in the UK without fully knowing what I was getting myself into.

The opportunity came up for a church fundraising event and a group of us thought it would be a great idea to hike up Ben Nevis for this cause. In planning for this adventure, I made a conscious decision not to check details of the climb such as the height, the average time it takes to climb, and other general facts about what I was going to put my body through. I just felt checking these facts may cause me to rethink the whole thing, so I didn’t bother.

In fairness, there were 2 guys in the group of nearly 12 of us that had been up the mountain once, and from what they described, I felt confident that this was going to be somewhat easy.

I loved the idea of it, I mean how hard could it be to climb up a mountain right? How wrong was I?

At the time, I was active, exercising at least twice a week but nothing serious to help me prepare for the climb.

We travelled up to Scotland as a group and it was great fun, honestly one of the best times of my life. We all didn’t know what we were about to experience. I remember we had even decided to leave nice and early the day after the climb with the far-reaching ambition of making it back to church in time for service on Sunday. What wishful thinking.

The next morning, we arrived in our gears looking like experienced mountain climbers; backpacks, hiking boots, clothing for the changing weather we had been told occur as we ascend.

We were ready… not. (Let me speak for myself, I was not ready). When we arrived to start the climb, I looked up to see what I was about to embark on, and even at that point, I still had not fully grasped the enormity of this challenge.

I cannot remember precisely what time we began climbing but it was relatively early, approximately 9 am if I had to guess.

In the beginning, it was surreal taking in the beautiful landscape of the Scottish Highlands.

God is such an amazing artist. We started the climb together as a group, but it became clear that we were not all on the same fitness level, and so gradually the group started to split up.

An hour into the climb I began to ask myself “Pam, what are you doing here” but I really just had to see this through now.

As we continued on the climb, we met people on the way who were either ascending or descending.

For those descending, many of them would offer words of encouragement like “keep going, it’s beautiful at the top” or “you’ve got this, not too long to go” even when we had only been climbing for less than 2 hours.

Some even said to us “you’re nearly there, just keep going”.

I remember at some point, I really wanted to burst out crying because my whole body was physically exhausted but having my husband and a few friends cheering me on kept me going.

After nearly 3 hours, we got to the midway point and it was absolutely breathtaking; the spring water flowed so beautifully. We all filled up our bottles from the cold spring water and sat down to take in the view and reflect on our journey so far, and particularly how far we still had to go.

As we continued, I remember begging my husband that I didn’t feel physically able to continue, I genuinely didn’t feel able to. But each time he reminded me how far we had come and each step we take to the top was a step closer to the end goal.

The way to the top is never easy.

Again, on the way up, seeing people going up and down reminded me that we all had our individual journeys in life, and we all needed to take ownership of how we climbed to the top. I must say at this point that I took lots of breaks to catch my breath but as we kept going up, I was so determined to get to the top now even though all the strength I had left was mental.

My husband and a dear friend waited with me. It took a total of 6 hours to finally get to the peak and another 4 hours to descend. I cannot describe the feeling; it was so emotional and fulfilling. We had done it and it was totally worth it. I say we because, without the support I had, I would certainly not have finished the climb.

This experience taught me a lot about myself and I really understood the lesson in Zechariah 4:6 because it definitely wasn’t by my own power or strength that I completed this task, God definitely held my hand.

I would say one of the key lessons for me is that some life experiences will test every tenacity in you especially when you do not prepare or see what’s ahead. I liked the idea of hiking up the mountain, but I didn’t mentally and physically prepare for the challenge. However, I grew so much from this experience knowing that although it can be hard and seem impossible, every step taken toward your goal is better than giving up because you would eventually get there.

Watching people going up and down the mountain was a huge distraction for me especially with those coming down giving conflicting information about how long we had left to climb.

“There will be those who will stand by you to cheer you on.”

Pace yourself according to your own ability and strength or else you will tire out quickly trying to keep up. It is an individual race, own your own space and enjoy the process.

There will be people on the journey that will encourage you as they pass you, and there will be those that will stand with you and cheer you on. But I would say the best experience for me was how amazing the work of God is. I couldn’t do the views any justice and would encourage you to try it yourself if you haven’t yet.

every step taken toward your goal is better than giving up because you would eventually get there.

Pamela Shodeinde

It is breathtakingly beautiful especially at the top because you gain perspective on what you have just achieved.

Life will not always present you with the kindest and smoothest paths. We had rain and as we approached the peak, the temperature was freezing cold, but with determination and resolve, we all made it to the peak and no feeling can be compared to what we felt at that moment.

So what mountain are you currently hiking up? Whatever it is, don’t give up, keep going no matter how hard the journey, you will get there. If you need a break then take one, but don’t give up.

2 thoughts on “Hiking up a mountain and the lessons learnt”

  1. O Lord, what a beautiful piece, hmmm!
    Sometimes the spur of the moment, yes, you just know you have to go even when your legs don’t want to, you leave the known for the unknown, you know it’s going to be a bumpy ride but you go on all the same. The role of friends cannot be overemphasized, they are growth capsules. I believe that the end will justify the means. We can do it! We can make it! I believe I can fly! If I just spread my wings!

  2. Macauley Coker Asin

    This is a splendid, beautiful and great advisory and counselling piece. Life indeed is an individual journey laced with lots of unknowns and sometimes with real tough challenges that could cast complete darkness and tend to consume one but with unwavering faith in God, focus and determination, such trying moments are rather temporary and you will get there and the reward is yours and the joyous end everlasting.

    Despite the obvious daunting challenges, you all made it to the top because God was there holding your hands invisibly and self determination and focus.

    Though life is an individual race but to get there after God as your spiritual companion, we all need support and encouragement from our families, spouses, friends, colleagues and even those unknown when the need is expedient.
    At different points of wanting to give up, your husband and others were physically there to support and encourage on and eventually, it was a joyful end.

    This your quote is apt:

    ” every step taken toward your goal is better than giving up because you would eventually get there”

    God bless you richly and empower you with Heavenly inspired wisdom, knowledge and understanding to come up with more write-ups that would impact positively on humanity.

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