Challenging Oneself – Hiking 🥾

Some of you might be familiar with a monthly hiking group that I organized for most of 2018. As a part of organizing anything you tend to get a good amount of requests, comments, and questions. For the hiking group, one of the common comments / requests has always been: “this hike looks so hard, could we do a easier one.” Sometimes I would pick a shorter one or one with an easier elevation gain and sometimes I’d be like come anyway and if it gets too hard we can always turn around earlier / cut across to the other side of the loop. When choosing to do the latter, I don’t think we’ve ever turned around. The 1-2 people who were anxious challenged themselves and always pushed through to the end. Something I’ve always been fascinated by: giving yourself an escape hatch but not giving into it.

This past weekend, I was in Whistler with plans to checkout Garibaldi Lake. The hike is pretty daunting: 20km and a ~900m elevation gain. However, there’s another way to do it: go all the way up to Panorama Ridge and enjoy the lake from above. Only problem: 30km and a ~1600m elevation gain. Having not hiked for most of this year, I was anxious to even do the former but knew I could make it if I pushed myself. But getting to Panorama Ridge seemed too hard to even think about let alone committing myself to making it to the top. But the views from the top were too irresistible to not try. You know where this going…I gave myself the same talk: I’ll do the trail to the lake and at the fork between the two, I’ll make the decision on which way to go. I could choose to only do the lake or if I was feeling comfortable — I’d go all the way.

I ended up going all the way. It makes me think about two important things: splitting daunting goals into smaller ones and giving yourself an out (but rarely using it). Both have tended to be helpful tools for me. Though the cynic in me always wonders why I need to play these little games with myself but hey, it’s worked well?

How do you approach challenging tasks. Do you ever find yourself with some some tricks too?