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A Trusted Guide

A while back, I had the chance to go on a backpacking trip in the Canadian Rockies with some friends. For months, we prepared and dreamt of what a backpacking trip could look like together. We trained, bought our gear and eventually made it to our location. As a we sat a basecamp and looked up at the peaks surrounding us, we anxiously awaited what we hoped would be an adventure of a lifetime. To go from the sea to summit in six days, we knew the trail would be challenging but the reward would be great.

Together, we set out with two trusted guides who knew the area and helped us prepare for the trip. They captained our boat to the site of a trailhead and slowly we began the trek. For the first day and a half, everything was just as we had imagined... warm weather, fresh air and the joy that comes from hiking in the wilderness. By our second evening, we'd reached the snow line and clouds began to come in.

"Not to worry" our guides said as we looked up at the clouds that appeared ominous in the distance. We set up camp, slept through the night and when we awoke in the morning, the storm continued to build. Hesitantly, we asked our guides if we should continue and they assured us that they knew the way and they had the tools to guide us along our journey. Onward, we marched forward into the unknown.

That afternoon, the storm arrived in full force. Wind, rain and snow that turned into a blizzard, we found ourselves stuck in a situation that seemed impossible to get out of. With trepidation we asked our guides, "Will we be ok," to which they answered, "We've been here before, we've experienced weather like this before, we have the tools to help you through this storm." As a group, we trusted our guides, climbed into our tents and waited out the storm. A day later, the storm began to break and we started the process of climbing down the mountain with our soaking wet gear.

The powder was fresh, our feat were frozen and it appeared to our untrained eye that we were lost with no trail around us. However, our guides used their tools, a compass, a map and a knowledge of the area around us and guided us down to safety. When we arrived back at basecamp, we were relieved that we had survived the storm and grateful for the experience.

Thinking about the trip and the physical storm that surrounded us reminds me of the metaphorical storms that surround us on a daily basis. Storms are hard, but weathering them makes us stronger coming out on the other side. Often times, in the middle of a trying situation, it can feel hopeless that the storm will ever end. One might feel lost not knowing which way to turn or where to go. Just like me on the trip, I needed a trusted guide to help me navigate the unknown. The truth is, we all need guidance at different points in time. Life can be challenging and a trusted guide can make all the difference.

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