There is something beautifully compelling about being in nature. Most of you know me as Style Miss Molly — a fashionista who loves all things girly and loves to dress up. However, today I’m sharing with you a part of me I never have before, and a part of me I’ve only recently come to realize just how passionate about it I am. The truth is, I have never felt more myself than when I hike. My soul longs for it, my mind thrives off of it, my body appreciates it. You could say that I’m a fashionista turned mountaineer, but there’s no reason why I can’t be both. I’m a true adventurer, eager to explore the breathtaking views in this world. I discovered myself while hiking the beautiful mountains of the Pacific Northwest. It continues to strengthen my body and my mind and teaches me endless amounts of valuable life skills every time I go out. Read more for seven life lessons the mountains have taught me.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir
In a way, I’ve always been adventurous. I grew up hiking with my dad and always had a knack to explore the unknown. I both skied and snowboarded growing up and that was exciting to me, perhaps for different reasons. I would take my magnifying glass and sit on the ski lift investigating all the perfect snowflakes we could find. I loved following my dad down unexplored paths and making my own trails (when it was safe of course). Little did I know, these little experiences that were cultivated as a child were all a part of my true passion.
7 Things the mountains have taught me:
1. Leave your problems at home.
The mountains are the one place I can leave all the trials of this world behind me and simply be 100% myself. In nature, I am able to escape the troubles of the world and be free from the stress that has a tendency to build up from the daily grind. Probably the biggest thing that attracts me to hiking is that it’s just me and mountain. I am able to be fully present on the task at hand and absorb the beauty around me. I’m completely at peace without even trying.
2. Savor the little moments.
Hiking for me is not a point A to point B destination. It’s about the little moments along the way. From a uniquely shaped tree, the curvature of the snow, the animal tracks that meander off somewhere unknown, to the mountains in the distance that take your breath away — I’ve learned to appreciate it all. There are always new experiences to explore and one of my favorite aspects of hiking is enjoying and appreciating every moment along the way. As we go through life we should always remember to savor the little moments and look forward to the joys they can bring us whether big or small.
3. Optimism is essential.
The mountains bring many challenges along the way. However, dwelling on the negatives of your body temperatures acclimating, my lungs trying to catch up to higher altitudes, or your muscles tightening from the weight of a backpack will only defeat you further. Hiking is largely a mind-over-matter situation. I have to keep telling myself something amazing is just around the corner and that it’s going to be worth it. It always is and keeping my mind positive is half the battle!
4. Hard work pays off.
I won’t say that hiking is easy. In fact, some of the most rewarding hikes that I’ve been on have been the most challenging. I love the puzzles that you have to solve along the way. Whether it’s a new path you have to find because of trail conditions or overcoming a difficult situation due to weather conditions, it always pays off. As hard as it is, it leads me back wanting more. I’m genuinely satisfied that I end up going no matter how I felt just hours before. I found the more difficult the experience the more rewarding the joy.When I hike I am emotionally, mentally, and physically stronger.
5. The best things in life are free.
When I think about the things in life that make me the happiest — it’s always people, experiences, and qualities gained from these experiences, not things. When I’m up in the mountains, all I can see is this incredible beauty that surrounds us. Often I ponder, “I can’t believe this is really free!” Not far from home, I am blessed with an exciting opportunity to seek it out, explore it, and admire it for all that is. As I feel alive from these breath-taking views and recharged from nature, I am reminded that there is always something beautiful to keep us going forward — and chances are, it’s free.
6. Appreciate the quietness.
In the city, it’s loud and noisy and I’m always running from point A to point B trying to get the next thing done on my list. When I’m in the mountains everything changes. One of my favorite things to do is close my eyes and listen. Sometimes I’ll hear animals or a stream trickling by. Other times I hear and feel the wind rush across my face and am instantly invigorated. In those moments I feel more connected with life and appreciate nature around me. It’s beautiful, it’s breathtaking, and most of all it’s very meditative.
7. Giving up is not an option.
Hiking has taught me to push through even when I think I can’t. It gets hard at times and there are many times where I question for a moment if I’m actually enjoying this. But I have learned to take it one step at a time and keep going no matter what. It’s incredible mental practice to coach yourself. Often I feel like The Little Engine That Could saying, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” Personally, I like to turn that phrase into “I know I can.” It’s very empowering to know that even when it’s tough you can conquer the mountain with perseverance. Ultimately, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other and as I like to say, “Keep smiling!”
Such a beautiful and fun shoot!
Hiking is something I love to do in the summer! Not the beautiful mountains out west, but NJ has some nice spots 😉
Thank you! I love summer time hikes, but in reality I hike all hear round! I love the SNOW too! You need to tell me all the great spots in NJ! I’m always looking for new hiking spots for when I travel.
These photos are stunning! I am definitely trying to make more of an effort in my own life to get outside and enjoy nature more. Sometimes I forget how beautiful the world is only hanging around my little town. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! I’m always in the same mode to make more of an effort to get outside too. The payoff is amazing!
There is nothing that makes me happier than hiking! I agree with all of these points. I feel so relaxed and like myself in nature.
RIGHT? You and I must be so much alike! Definitely so much more like myself when I’m in nature. It’s a very grounding thing!
Ok first of all, DAMN GIRL! You are so fit!!! Second of all, these lessons are all on point! I completely agree with you that learning to appreciate quietness is good. 🙂
Thank you Joti! I’m learning more every day to appreciate the quietness. It can still be a struggle with the business of social media, but it’s so important to take time for ourselves!
These photos are absolutely stunning! And so are you!
I love these life tips, and think we can all incorporate them to live life a little fuller! xo, LA
Thank you so much! You are so kind! I certainly want to live my life a little fuller whenever possible!
What a fantastic view!! I have to say that growing up in the Countryside (while we had green rolling hills instead of Mountains) I was used to going on walks every Sunday and being outside with My Family and the Fresh air was always amazing! I should go on some hikes here now that I live in The PNW but I have to admit the fear of running in to bears/ wolves or Cougars (not the 40 year old Whistler kind) makes me nervous. But there’s a hike here up to St. Mark’s Summit where you can look across the whole of Howe Sound when you reach the top and it’s especially stunning at Sunset. Or even The Garibaldi Hike. We’re pretty lucky with the scenery here for sure! Beautiful photos too!
Ellie | http://www.scotchandstilettos.com
Ellie, your comment made me smile thinking about green rolling hills! That must have been so nice to spend Sundays with your family! I sure do remember similar adventures with my family and they will always be so dear to my heart! I just looked up St. Mark’s Summit — looks wonderful! Thanks for the recommendation!
I have never really been into hiking until my hubby, a super athletic guy and a mountain enthusiast, took me on one. Changed woman! 😀 So I completely understand every point you are making here, Molly. Putting all of your physical (and especially) mental strength into each step is teaching you a lot in the process before you get that view from the summit. Excuse the “metaphor” 🙂 So important to get out of your comfort zone and push your limits! I often tend to forget that, that’s why experience like this are so crucial. They make you feel so alive <3
I love to hear that story that your mountain man got you to appreciate hiking in the mountains! And yes, totally think that getting out of your comfort zone and being pushed to your limits is so worth it. My hike last weekend totally had the same affect, but I’m so glad I pushed through because it was such a fun hike! Thanks for sharing your story!
You look beautiful babe! Love your hiking outfit 🙂 that strappy back sports bra is totally up my alley. I’ve been hiking more since moving out to the desert and it’s so much fun! I’m glad that you’re spending more time outdoors and enjoying what nature has to offer 🙂 xo, sharon
Thanks babe! I’ve always wanted to do more desert hiking, because I think that hiking in different sceneries is just so fun! Let me know if you recommend any great ones in your area, I’m always looking to add ones to the list!
I loved reading this post dear Molly.I had a smile on my face while I was reading it.
I am so happy to hear that you are feeling so good and content and what I love the most is how happy you are and that smile is contagious. You are truly inspiring young lady! Grateful to know you! :))
Aww thanks Zana! I’m so grateful to know you as well. I definitely am feeling good especially when doing things I love like hiking! So great to discover your happy place and pursue more opportunities for being surrounded by it!
Be honest… you stand at the top of the mountain totally naked sometimes, right? Hell, I would. That would feel amazing.