Hiking Lessons

Dear Friends and Family,

My family recently took a camping trip to Beavers Bend, Oklahoma. Note: when I say “camping trip”, I mean inside a cabin with air conditioning and plumbing. This was the first time just the four of us have taken a “vacation” as a family – usually it’s with friends or other family members. Given our current situation with COVID-19, it was just what we needed in this season of life – to spend time together, make memories, and enjoy God’s creation.

Going on vacation during a pandemic is challenging, but my wife and I vowed to make this trip memorable for our kids. Roasting marshmallows and making smores, going on a boat ride, playing cornhole, swinging in the hammock, eating breakfast on the back patio, and skipping rocks in the river are some of the things I hope our kids will remember.

One of the highlights, at least for me, during the trip was our hike through the beautiful Beavers Bend State Park. Despite a few challenges, it certainly was a memorable morning. A couple of wrong turns, some scrapes, bumps and bruises, a few bug bites, and summer heat didn’t stop us from making it to our destination…the top of “Lookout Mountain Trail.” And the view was breathtaking.

It was a long hike, it was hot, and we learned a lot along the way. It is my hope that some of our lessons experienced in hiking will be beneficial to you…whether it’s on your own future hiking adventure…or maybe even better, while navigating through everyday life:

  • You’re going to make wrong turns along the way. The important thing is to recognize when you get off the path, turnaround, and get back on.
  • You’ll meet some strangers along the way. Some are friendlier than others. Some are more tired than others. Some have been through rougher territory than others. Be nice to them.
  • You’ll need to ask for directions every once in a while. Don’t be ashamed or feel bad about it.
  • Help those who seem lost. Don’t be offended if they don’t take your advice or say thank you. You don’t know what they’ve been through.
  • Say thank you to others who give you advice, no matter what you’ve been through.
  • It’s easier to go downhill. But don’t run downhill. You may not be able to stop.
  • Watch where you step, but don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from taking the next step.
  • When someone is struggling, give them a word of encouragement.
  • There’s often more than one way to pass through a barrier.
  • Usually, you will come across multiple paths that all lead to the same destination… some are just longer and rougher than others.
  • It’s ok to stop and rest sometimes.
  • It’s ok to be carried sometimes.
  • Sometimes you’ll have to go through tall weeds or grass; especially where the path is less traveled.
  • The valley can be just as beautiful as the mountain top.

No matter where your adventure takes you, or is taking you, I hope our family’s “hiking lessons” help you along your journey.

And regardless of what you are experiencing today, always remember…you can do hard things.


Until next time,

Steven Campbell