lessons learned: never forget

This post is part of the discussion series titled The Path to Healthy Living Through the Great Outdoors. The point of these topics is not for just me to just share them and move on, but rather to foster some discussion on these ideas and how they apply in "your" life. We're not sitting around the same table, but we can still have a discussion. Just leave your own thoughts in the comments below, or send them to me privately if you prefer. You'll find a complete list of all the topics at the end of this post.

Never forget where you came from. It should continue to guide you as you move forward.

In the case of hiking, I use an app called RunKeeper to track activities. I do not use it for daily step tracking, but rather specific activities like snowshoeing and hiking. It keeps track of some specific things I like to have record of, such as elevation profiles, and a gps track of the route I took. If I do not have active service, which is much of the time while hiking, I may not get actual map information, but I do get a drawing of the route I took based on the GPS data. After I’m done it looks something like this…

On this trip to Umtanum Creek, it was a nice day and we were with a fairly large group that broke up into a number of smaller groups. I was with a fairly quickly moving group, and as such we ended up going a bit further than the rest of the group before turning back. This area has a number of little side trails, some that reconnect, others that just dead-end in the brush, or as in the instance we discovered, come to a spot in the creek that has no easy crossing. If you look at the trail in the image, you can see where we came to the creek at a spot just to the left of our original 1-mile mark. We discovered we weren’t going to be able to safely cross, but by pulling out my map of where we’d already been, I was able to guide us back to that path, so we could get back out again. The below photo include a post that I believe was marking the juncture where we initially veered off course. I think we may have been distracted by some of the great wild flowers and such.

This is a pretty mild example of how when in the outdoors, making sure you don’t forget where you came from gets you back safely. But even in a fairly populated trail situation like the one we were in, if we’d tried to press forward recklessly and cross that creek where it was not safe to do so, things could have turned out much differently.

On a healthy living trip, by not forgetting where we came from, we can continue to guide ourselves on a proper course forward. There are times where we may veer off our intended path, which in itself may not be all that bad. Having a treat when out with friends, or skipping those trips to the gym for a few days here and there. But if we continue down that trail, ignoring the warning signs that may lead back to bad habits, we may have more and more trouble finding our way back to that trail that keeps up heading to our destination.

There’s another aspect to remembering where we came from as well. Some feel it is about remembering what things were like, what we were like, before the decisions to become a healthier person to help prevent us from becoming that person again. I think part of that is how sometimes our own success can lead us to losing sight of what it’s like for those just starting down a similar path. We can lose some of the empathy and humility that keeps our own journey in healthy perspective.

I also believe that while I do not wish to “be” the person I was again, I wouldn’t be who I am now without that person and the experiences they gave me. And by not forgetting who I was, I do believe it only strengthens who I am now.

What about you? What about your past do you wish to not forget, that helps you continue to be a better, healthier you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

This following is the complete list of topics that make up The Path to Healthy Living Through the Great Outdoors discussion topics. While these topics are listed as a sort of progression, they can be viewed/discussed in any order. Titles will get an active link as they are posted.

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