12 Jul A Story of Remarkable Willpower to Inspire You
Today, I want to share a story that’s a huge inspiration to me. Trust me, you’ll want to read this one to the end.
For those of you who don’t know who I am or what I’ve been up to, for the past four months I’ve been traveling across the country. I left my home in Charleston, SC with my car, some clothes and some camping equipment and just went. As much as I hope me doing that inspires you to see more, do more and be more, my story isn’t the one I want to share with you today.
Since I left on my journey, I’ve been to some gorgeous places, done some pretty cool stuff and met some extraordinary people. Let’s fast-forward from Charleston, SC to Big Bend National Park, TX…
There I am, sitting at a picnic table in Chisos Basin preparing a very affordable meal by spooning peanut butter onto some bread when this guy at a table nearby speaks up and starts asking me questions. I’m all about being social and meeting new people so we begin to chat. I find out his name is Dan and he’s staying in Big Bend with some friends. Most of them have been coming there for years to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
As the talk continues, Dan asks me if I’d like to go on a hike the next day. I inform Dan that I was planning on hiking that next day anyway and that I would love to join him and his friends. We decide to meet up in the morning and I go on my way into the middle of the backcountry where my camp is set up.
In the morning I meet Dan, his best friend Steve and Steve’s daughter Alaine. Before I even know the full intensity of the hike, we set off. The trail we decided to conquer was the South Rim Trail. This is a trail that’s around 11 – 12 miles long, has an elevation gain of around 2000 feet and has somewhere around 27 switchbacks (if my memory serves me correctly). All-in-all, it’s not a short or flat hike.
As we begin the hike, we have it pretty easy. No crazy elevation increase, pretty simple but we’re getting further away from the basin and deeper into the wilderness. That doesn’t last very long before we start gaining in elevation, hitting switchback after switchback and finding some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. I mean really, view after view on this hike.
After a few hours we’re finally to the top, sitting down having our hiker’s lunch of trail mix, Clif Bars and beef jerky. Guys, I can honestly say that I’ve never had a better lunch. The view there, is phenomenal, looking right into Mexico and the people I was with were even better.
After finishing our lunch, we snapped a few photos and continued on our way. The hike took us about 7 hours (including a few breaks to enjoy the views), 11ish miles and 2000 feet of up and down and the whole way Steve was leading the pack, setting the pace. I mean, the whole way.
The reason I encouraged you to read this story to the end is because I haven’t been completely transparent about everything with you yet. What I didn’t tell you is Dan and Steve are in their 50’s. Fifty percent of the hikers in our crew that day have been in this world for over 50 years. The other thing that I didn’t mention, is Steve has Parkinson’s disease.
Yes, you read that correctly. The man who lead the way the entire hike is 59 years old and has Parkinson’s disease. I’m not talking about, just diagnosed with it, I mean past the early stages. And the pace he set for us on that hike was not slow by any means. Needless to say, I was extremely encouraged by Dan and Steve.
I want to emphasize that Dan and Steve weren’t out to prove something. They were full of joy and positivity the entire time, chatting about nature, life and music. I know the real reason they were hiking that trail and it was out of love but that’s a whole other story.
When I think I’m having a rough day or like I can’t take that next step, I just think back on that day and remember that hike and the people it was with. I watched two men and one young lady conquer a beast out of love, even when the odds were stacked against them. For that, I will always be grateful.
Are you having a rough day? Who or what encourages and inspires you? Please share your story in the comments below.