The real gem of our recent hike was the crystal clear waters of Tinipak River. This was what we were looking forward to all throughout the trip.
After a refreshing rest and having our fill of the endless view of the mountains, we were ready to tackle the descent. We were warned that it was even more difficult and dangerous due to the slippery mud. But we love a good challenge and so, from the summit down the river, we traversed the second part of the hike with our game faces on.
Personally, I found it easier since there were more support to hold on to and my legs weren't screaming bloody murder compared to going up. It may or may not contribute to the fact that I was way too excited to reach the river and jump in the water. (It was all I could imagine after a sweat drenching hike.) Based from the countless photos I've seen on socials and from friends, it was worth facing the risks. We were lucky despite the short drizzle that passed while we were at the summit, the pathway wasn't all too muddy and slippery.
20 hours... Of hiking, of drenching in sweat, of cooling off in the river, of holding onto branches for dear life, of climbing rocks, of cliff jumping, of swimming against the water's current, of hiking back to the village at nightfall, of getting dinner at midnight... All of it made up for one epic and unforgettable adventure.
Everything about the trip was surreal. And in less than 24 hours, we've officially ticked off a bunch of dreamy moments from our bucket list. Talk about killing more than two birds with one stone!
When something as significant and challenging like this occurs, I usually ponder and reflect on the events that transpired and gather some life lessons from it. This helps me look back and remember particular moments, and realize how grateful I am to experience all of it. These "lessons" are not just about climbing mountains and going on adventures — with all the ups and downs that come with it — but how we handle and face life head on. As we all agreed when we were driving back home, that day was only filled with extremes: extreme euphoria, and of course, extreme fatigue. That being said, here are:
1 It's All About The Mindset
Nothing is impossible. Believe that you can do it and you will conquer it.
2 Determination Is Key
Push your limits and your boundaries. Determination will take you to great lengths. As Todd Henry perfectly illustrates from his book, Louder Than Words, "It's your courage and willingness to engage in the journey that defines you."
3 Revel In Camaraderie
Surround yourself with committed, driven and like-minded individuals who will encourage and push you to reach your goals. Powering through challenges with a circle you trust builds inspiration and mutual respect. You cheer one another, you help one another, and you conquer together as one. As it goes from the famous line in the movie Lilo & Stitch, "No one gets left behind... Or forgotten."
4 Sharing Is Caring
Think about others. Generosity goes a long way. Little things such as sparing your water, sharing the extra food you prepared and so on, can really help. More so than you can ever imagine.
5 Look At The Bigger Picture
Constantly remind yourself of your goal and what you'll need to do to achieve it. Be motivated to push through, despite the difficulties. Remember: "Whatever it takes to get there."
6 Be Present
Be aware of the here and now, of every step you take, of your surroundings. Breathe in. Breathe out. Take it all in. And be present in every single moment.
7 Know Your Next Step
Literally and figuratively. Climbing mountains is no walk in the park. You need clarity, strategy and a presence of mind. Especially when it comes to your footing and knowing where to place your hands in order to support yourself and not topple over to your death. (Sorry for the graphic image.)
The same goes when we navigate our day to day life. We have to be prepared; know what steps we need to take in order to get to the finish line and reach our ultimate goal. No successful person in any lifetime has navigated life without knowing what their next step should be. Don't go blindly grasping for straws. Be prepared.
8 Believe In Yourself
Always. If we can do it, and if other countless strangers can do it, then so can you. Remember Lesson #1?