4 Lessons I Take from Hiking a Mountain

Aliko Sunawang

Aliko Sunawang

A blogger and photography hobbyist.

Mountain hiking has been my hobby since about 2012. Merapi was the first mountain that I hike. Being able to stand on the top of the mountain is something you can’t describe. People say that summit is not the main destination when you hike a mountain. Instead, it’s about the process of getting there. I agree, but there is a satisfaction feeling when you can reach the top.

I love mountain hiking because it allows me to get closer to the nature. I love the smell of the wet ground of the hiking trails, I love to touch the dew on the grasses, I love to see how the misty move, and other countless things related to nature. It delivers a calm feeling to mind.

In addition, mountain hiking also gives some lessons about life — be it in personal life of professional life. Here are some lessons I take from hiking a mountain.

Patience

Whether you want to go to the top or just want to camp on a certain area of the mountain you hike, you have a clear destination. To get to your destination, you have to walk on your foot, step by step. A hiking trail is never flat. It is uphill. It requires massive effort to get to a campsite or mountain top. It requires your sweat, your panting breath, your sore legs, your tired body. But in the end, you will be on your destination after getting through these obstacles. As long as you keep going — no matter if it’s a slow pace –, it’s only the matter of time until you get where you’ve meant to be. All you need is a little more patience.

Grateful and Empathy

I have hiked several mountains in my country Indonesia. On some mountains that I hiked; I knew how the surrounding people live. On Mount Lawu via Singolangu trail, a grandma had to walk hundreds of kilometers (or even thousands) passing through ascending trail for her cattle feed. On Mount Welirang via Tretes trail, traditional sulfur miners had to carry the tens of kilograms of sulfur on their shoulders. Also passing through the ascending and descending trails. There are many other stories about the struggle of life I’ve seen from mountain hiking. All of these make me feel grateful for the life that God has given to me. I won’t say that I have a better life than them. Everyone has their own parameter about an ideal life. I just can’t imagine if I had to hike a mountain every single day to live.

Unselfishness

So far, I’ve never hiked a mountain alone. On some mountains (especially in the National Park areas like Semeru) it’s illegal to hike alone. You have to hike with a team that consists of at least four members. When you hike a mountain with a team, you can’t be selfish. I mean, if you are physically stronger, you can’t just go to leave your teammates behind, unless your team is divided into sub-teams. Hiking a mountain with a team can help to learn to reduce your ego. Sometimes, you need to compromise to go hand in hand with others.

To Enjoy Every Moment

It’s completely true that standing on the top of mountain raises a pride feeling. A feeling you can’t even describe. But what’s matter more about it is to enjoy the journey itself. You can get to top of a mountain using a helicopter, but the feeling of stepping your foots into the trail is something you can’t get with any tool.

In life, we sometimes want to achieve certain things quickly. We want to buy a house before 30. We want to have a million dollar business before 35. And so on. I don’t say that these are bad goals. I also want to be successful as young as possible. But I also realize that everyone has their own path. As I said above, as long as you have a clear destination, it’s only the matter of time until you get there. Just enjoy every moment. Your life is what you are doing right now.

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