by Ruby Hogg

A view of Berg Lake / RUBY HOGG

Have you ever seen a photo of a remote landscape in a magazine or online and thought to yourself, “I wish I could go there.” Your eyes yearningly scanning over the rolling hills, sheer cliffs, and aqua blue water. You allow it to be a fleeting wish though, because you doubt that you could hike that distance or access that place.

Having a young daughter, I’ve come to realize how much mental energy exercise requires. I guess that I’ve always known this to be true, but seeing it from another angle has given me a renewed perspective. Often, we will start hiking and she will set it in her mind that she can’t overcome a physical hurdle, usually a large uphill climb. This almost always results in my coaxing her up, her reaching the top, and a big celebration. Her eyes shining with pride, her body radiating excitement.

I can’t blame her. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been in the same position. Wishing I had somebody cheering me uphill when I felt doubt sneaking under my skin. When every breath drawn in still leaves me desperate for air, and I feel like my legs are about to give out from under my body.”  Despite these thoughts, I’ve always carried on. And now, trails that once seemed impossible are a nice morning stretch.

So how did I get to this point?

Well, firstly: Start small. If you don’t think you can hike the 24 km trail to Berg Lake, start by hiking the 1.5 kilometers to Little Lost Lake, then to 4.5km to Kinney, slowly working your way up.

Next: Don’t give up.

Yeah, it might be tough. Your body might be a bit sore after the first few grinds. But whatever you do, don’t give up. Find something to motivate you, put your faith in that, and just keep plopping one foot in front of the other.

Need a little extra?

Find a mantra. During particularly difficult sections of trail I will repeat, “I am strong,” in my head. It’s amazing what a little positive encouragement will do.

Still not there?

Companionship. Friends hold each other accountable, and encourage each other to push physical limits.

Okay, so you’ve finally made it to your destination, now what? Celebrate! Take pride in what you’ve done. No feat should go under-admired because just getting outside is an accomplishment. You made time to honour your body, which isn’t always easy in our busy day-to-day schedules.

Nowadays, when I see a photo of a beautiful remote place, it isn’t just a passing thought. Instead I say to myself, “I can’t wait to go there.”

Ruby Hogg is a founder of the blog Wide Open World. See more of her writing and photography here: