Reasons to Explore: Find Peace (A 10 Mile Hike)

Adventuring is something that my parents introduced me to when I was younger through family trips. Today, I have found that I have gained a better appreciation for going on adventures. There are many reasons why traveling and exploring the planet have become a passion and a hobby of mine over the years. As I continue to build my exploring resume and visit new places I begin to realize and discover what it is about exploring that captures me and gives me a desire to go to distant lands and into the wilderness.

Escape Reality

Let’s face it. As spectacularly wonderful as Life can be, it can also be crazy, stressful, overwhelming, and pressuring, and a, at times, seemingly chaotic world home doesn’t help.

Sometimes the best way to help deal with the struggles of reality, whether they are big or small, and give your mind some time to regroup, is too escape reality all together. I find that travelling and exploring the planet, near or far from home, can help you do just that and find peace in the wild of Life.

Getting out into the world and breaking from your normal routine can be a medicine for your soul and mind unlike any other for it allows you to take a break from the stressors of daily life. Therefore freeing yourself and help you to learn and grow as a person and feel Life in a unique way.

This was especially apparent during the recent and current COVID-19 pandemic, even though there were tight travel restrictions. On the rare occasion in the last few months I was able to get to somewhere else, of course following guidelines. Getting out of dodge was huge in helping myself deal with all of the fears, stress, and panic, brought on by the pandemic and the poor way it was handled by the news media.

It led me to really appreciate and cherish exploring even more than I already did, due to the peace it brought me and to experience how easily it can be taken away.

Into the Wilderness…

For me the kinds of trips that bring the most peace are the ones that take me out into nature and away from bigger cities. The trips were I find comfort and enjoyment in sleeping on the ground in a tent or in my car.

There is something special and tranquil about the wilderness and being in nature that helps one recharge themselves and relax their mind and learn. It was the exact type of trip I was looking for to help give my mind break from all of the stressors brought on by the pandemic and to escape reality.

So, when restrictions to travel in Michigan became rolled back a buddy of mine named Landon and me took this opportunity to head into the wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to get out of dodge for a bit. Of course doing it safely and following social distancing and COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

It was a spontaneous trip where we left on a Friday night after we both got out of work and drove into the night, heading for a rest stop about 30 minutes outside of Munising and Pictured Rocks, where we would get a few hours of rest. The highlight of this drive definitely came when we crossed the bridge at sunset and drove west along Highway 2 on the shores of Lake Michigan.

I only wish we would have stopped to take a picture, but a picture would not have done the sight justice.

As we drove along 2 separated from the water by a few yards of sand, the Sun had almost completely disappeared on the horizon lighting up the sky in a layers of vibrant color. From the horizon up it was yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, and finishing of with a shade of dark blue.

To make the sight more majestic, the brightest of the stars in our sky were coming out and Venus and the Moon were seemingly dancing with each other in the orange layer of the sky. I couldn’t help but smile in the sight as I listened to the perfect tunes to match the view.

While we would only be spending Saturday up there we made the most it. By 7:30am where we already hitting the road to our first and only hike of the day.

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The 10 to 12 mile stretch of the North Country Scenic trail the runs through the forests along the shoreline of Pictured Rocks called Lakeshore Trail. It is a trail I had done once before about two years ago, and ever since I have had this itch to trek it again. Out of all of the trails I have hiked, this one is my favorite.

To see the colors of the forest, cliffs, and Lake Superior in the spring Sun, was nothing short of breathtaking and worth the wait. It felt freeing to walk this trail once again, a trail that provides you with views that make you feel like you are on the edge of the world. Walking along the mighty and naturally painted cliffs that stand guard over the pristine turquoise waters of Lake Superior.

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In the sections away from the shore and deeper into the forest we were greeted with young, spring forest floor growth and flowers making their way into the world. Because of this, I feel as if this hike is better made in the spring, for the temperature is perfect and the forest is brilliant with color. Just make sure you go early enough in the spring to beat the bugs.

After our hike we then headed to the mountain bike course on top of a large hill that over looked Lake Superior in Munising. We tore up the trail and its obstacles and features for a few hours before we decided to head back home.

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Take Time to Journey

The relief that this short and spontaneous trip brought to my mind in the face of the stressors and anxiety that life was throwing my way, throwing all of our ways, was a reminder that nature and traveling is such a fascinating part of Life. It was also a reminder of the wonders of the wilderness, the lessons it can teach you, and peace it can bring.

Showing me once again how precious this planet is and that it truly is the perfect place to experience the gift we call Life. We need to ensure it stays that way for future generations to come.

IMG_4500My message to you though is that if Life ever begins to overwhelm you know that it is okay to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and/or anxious and then know that this world is so full of adventure and fun. So take time for yourself to explore it.

Let your batteries recharge, find answers to your stressors, connect with yourself, nature, and those you come in contact with on your journeys, and just take time to breathe.  The world is here for us to enjoy and explore it, so take time to do just that.

Those little moments of pure magic, excitement, adventure, and happiness in Life that things like exploring can bring you, make getting through the times of stress and anxiety that much easier and remind you just how special Life is. The world is a stellar place to be because you’re here.

Song for thought: “Gonna Get Through This” by: Mike Mains & The Branches

Happy exploring!

– Dustin

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