On July 2018 I was in Tucson attending a meeting. Hot Tucson. Very hot. My flight comming back was at 11 AM on Saturday. I decided to go for a hike before my flight. There are lots of place to hike in Tucson. Tucson is in proximity to two national parks and is surrounded by five mountain ranges. It reminds me of the beautiful Bogota, where I grew up. In Bogota you can experience sunrises magically appearing behind the Cordillera of the Andes mountain range.
I head early to the hiking trail because of my early flight and the weather. At 9 AM it was supposed to be 97 °F. I woke up at 5 AM and arrived to Ventana Canyon Trailhead at sunrise. The Uber left me in the parking lot of the Lowes Hotel, a cool resort in the area. I had no map and no idea of where I was going. The night before my friend Michelle told me that Ventana Canyon Trailhead was the easiest to get in and the easiest to get an Uber to drive me back to the hotel. I just listened to what Michelle told me and I followed.
When I got off the Uber, another hiker was approaching at the end of the parking lot. A nice lady named Laura. We clicked and in seconds we became hiking partners. We both had two hours. She had a map and she was an experience hiker. I followed her. We had a nice conversation about our work, our kids and nature. I just followed.
I haven’t seen so many cactuses in my life. The climbs were steep. I think we went up 1000 ft. It had rained in the past days and the trail was not very clear.
We had to guess in several occasions the best path to take. We finally got to the top of the hill. We experienced beautiful views. The air cleared out. We felt the breeze clearing our thoughts and mind. A sense of bliss.
There are nature water pools in this trail but we never made it to the them. I think we were 5-10 min away from the first pool, where hikers can relax and can get a nice refreshing bath.
Getting lost took some of our time, We had to get back, but we had no idea how. We explored several possible paths but we continued getting stuck by a fence of cactus or deep cliffs. After 10 minutes we saw another hiker coming. We went up and got on the path he was using to get towards us.
We had a brief chat. We told him how we have been trying to get back for a while, the steep conditions of the trail, the hot weather, the pools that we will not be able to meet…
In the middle of our conversation he said one thing that stuck with me:
If you are lost, stop and listen, the path will show you the way.
Sounds weird. Very weird. But if you think about it, it sort of makes a lot of sense. And, it is not a the trail issue, it is a life issue.
We followed his advice. After 10 minutes of heading back we got to another confusing path block. It was a very rocky place. We didn’t remember passing through this intersection. Huge rocks where in front of us inviting us to slide down over their rough surface.
We said, “OK, let’s practice”. We took a deep breath, closed our eyes for 20-30 seconds. Like breathing when doing mediation, but standing up. We opened our eyes again. We looked around and smiled. The trail was hidden behind some bushes. We continued our way back. I got on time for my flight coming back and Laura got on time to have breakfast with her husband. Happy Ending!
Finding our way with a mindful attitude is what I remember most of this trip. This goes back to the idea of being connected with our surroundings, specially when we are surrounded by nature, by the pure greatness of creation.
I think the practice of stopping an listening doesn’t only applies in a hiking path lost situation, but possibly in every situation in our life. We need to stop, reset our thoughts, our emotions, and what worries us more.
Let it go, breath it out, surrender and listen.