One afternoon, while on vacation, my partner and I went to pick-up a few things at the closest store to where we were staying. We decided to take a short drive to visit a trout farm. It was closed when we got there so my partner suggested we go for a short hike on a nearby trail to the Whiteshell River. This trail is a small piece of the Mantario Trail in the Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba.
When we arrived, a sign marking the beginning of the trail informed us it would take approximately two hours to walk this route. It was a 2.8 km round trip. The information provided suggested that one should have proper hiking shoes etc. to do the hike. We were dressed in shorts and sandals, had no form of insect repellent, a 5 gallon jug of water in the back of the car, with no small water bottles to fill and take with us – very unprepared for such a venture. We decided to do it anyhow.
The trail was narrow and rough and in some places almost unrecognizable except for the markers placed to guide us along the route. We walked through thick woods, sometimes climbing over, or navigating around trees that had fallen across the trail, through some tall grass, up to the top of large rocks, back through more wooded areas, and eventually to the Whiteshell River, right below the trout farm.
There were points along the way, we wondered what we were getting ourselves into and considered turning around. It felt pointless to have gone as far as we did and not reach the river. When we got to the river, we didn’t stay long because the mosquitoes and black flies were quite bad. We thought about going back the way we came. Somehow, moving forward along an unknown path seemed a more attractive choice than going back that way. Sometimes it is best not to know what lies ahead because you might be too overwhelmed at what you have to go through to reach your destination.
The trail ahead was longer than the trail we took to reach the river. There were more and larger trees that had fallen across the trail. At one point, we couldn’t see the markers to guide us. The options were to turn to the left and climb a large rock, or go through the woods around some deadfall. We started through the woods and soon felt were no longer on a path. We also heard some noise from a large animal that startled us. We decided to turn back and climb the rock. Once on top of the rock we found the trail markers again and kept going.
My partner moved ahead of me, anxious to get back to the car and to finish this adventure. I was dragging behind, tired, thirsty and a feeling a bit eaten by bugs. I also had acquired a large scratch on one leg, from catching on a branch of a pine tree I had to climb over. Eventually, we made it back to the car and were both relieved to have completed this adventure.
A little later, reflecting on our journey, I commented on how vulnerable it felt to be on that trail – vulnerable because we were not properly prepared for the experience, because no one else knew we were there, because the only way out was to follow the trail, because we didn’t know what we would encounter along the way – the terrain or the wild life, because we were surrendering to the path in front of us into the unknown.
As much as we questioned our sanity after it was all done, there is something powerful in challenging ourselves to allow for these experiences in our lives. This hike required a leap of faith, trust – both that the trail would be there as we moved forward, and trust in each other to help each other through whatever challenges we faced along the way. And so it is as we continue on our journey together.
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Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Master and ThetaHealing® Practitioner, www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca and a Financial Representative. “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 47 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I have been working in Financial Services for the past 16 years educating people about their finances, helping them restructure and reduce debt, invest for the future and properly protect their families. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges has led me to begin practising Reiki and ThetaHealing®. I have a desire to learn and practise other healing modalities, as well as serve children and empower young women around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”