A short while ago, my family and I traveled to Traverse City, Michigan for some much-needed rest and relaxation. We chose that location because there were so many opportunities to explore and have fun, while safely social distancing. The hiking trails, wineries/breweries and waterfront parks were simply gorgeous, especially as the fall colors peaked.
And one of our favorite places, Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, was unexpectedly mind-blowing! These majestic sand dunes rest atop already towering bluffs about 400 feet above Lake Michigan.
Before heading to the park, we initially made the decision that we weren’t going to do the full 3.5 miles of climbing over the steep dunes to get to Lake Michigan. Although the distance didn’t seem too bad, trekking on the loose sand and desert-like terrain made the journey longer. The suggested estimated time allowance was 3-4 hours, and we didn’t want to invest that kind of time since there were other sites we wanted to see.
Then, once we arrived at the dunes and saw how immense the first hill appeared, I think we were all secretly happy with our decision to “just climb one”.
But what we hadn’t anticipated was how much fun it was going to be! We felt like little kids again – trudging in the sand, sliding down, not always on purpose, and occasionally plopping clumsily on our bottoms.
The climb was slow and purposeful, a few steps forward and often several steps back. And it was strenuous, even for the most in-shape members of our group. So, once we all made it over the first mammoth dune and descended to the other side, we all looked a little proud of ourselves.
Then, what to do next? We were having fun, and we all wanted to keep going. So, we decided to tackle the next set of hills and onward we went!
Interestingly, we all seemed to be experiencing the same illusion. We were thinking we would be almost to the lake after we conquered the next set of dunes, even though we had only been hiking for about an hour.
So, we all looked a little disappointed when we made it to the other side and saw yet another set of gigantic dunes before us. And there was no view of the lake, not even a peek.
My husband, Jerry, said it first, “I don’t know why, but I thought we would be seeing the lake by now. But I guess we aren’t even half-way there. Who knows how many dunes we’d still have to climb to even get a glimpse of it?”
We all agreed and decided to go with our original plan of not hiking the whole distance to the lake. We simply didn’t have the time.
And then, we all seemed to have the same idea at the same time. What if we just climbed a little further, off the path, to the highest point we could find? Within seconds, we were all on our way. We were running and laughing, trying out different routes to the top.
And when we got there, we were rewarded with a stunning view of the lake in front of us! And because we were on a peninsula, we could also see the bay on the other side. We stood on uneven ground, taking selfies, and gazing out at the beautiful, blue waters with appreciation and admiration.
And we talked about how glad we were that we decided to push a little harder and go a little further before turning back.
“I’m so glad we did,” said my daughter, Marissa. “Otherwise, we would have missed this amazing view and not even known it!”
As we trekked back, I thought about that simple lesson and how I wanted to share it with you.
We are all having to pivot and readjust as we navigate the challenges of the times. And it’s easy to get discouraged when it seems we finally conquer a big obstacle, and new ones, that are sometimes even bigger than the first, pop up even before the dust settles!
So, it’s key to remember, that even if you think your goal is too far out of reach, you are likely closer than you think.
What if obstacles are just part of the process?
It’s funny how our minds tell us that we “should” be further along. What if you are right on track?
What if you open your mind to the possibilities, think outside the box, push a little harder and go a little further?
You are important and so are your dreams!
It’s all about tenacity.
You haven’t come this far to miss out on the amazing view!