Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lessons of a 50 mile hike

When I was 12 or 13 my scout troop joined in an event called a 50/20.   The goal of a 50/20 was to walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less.  Several hundred scouts started walking from the "This is the Place Monument" in Salt Lake about 6:00 PM.  Those who made it finished on Center Street in Provo sometime the next afternoon.  

Throughout the night we had cars meet our group with food and drink.  Sometime around 3:00 AM, scouts started to drop out during these short breaks.  By 6:00 AM, as the sun was almost ready to peek out and brighten the day, my dad and I were the last people from our group still walking.  A truck pulled up for our next pit stop, and  I gratefully grabbed a cup of hot chocolate.  I walked around to the back of the truck,  peering in I saw several of my friends wrapped up in a heap of  blankets.  They were warm, and they were asleep.  I had never wanted anything so bad as to climb in that truck, curl up, and get my own rest.  As I stared longingly at my snoring friends, my dad walked up to me, put his arm on my shoulder and said "Are you thinking about quitting?"

"Yes I am", was my quiet reply.

He looked thoughtful for a few minutes.  Then gently grabbed my hand.  "You've come way to far to quit now.  Let's go."  I followed him away from the truck and back on to the dark road.  We finished that walk the next day in just over 19 hours.  To this day I am proud of that accomplishment.  

Years later as I struggled with the difficult changes I needed to make in my life.  I have had many moments where I have looked at the task ahead and wanted to give up.  Each time I have felt the Lords guidance telling me "You've come to far to quit now".  He has been there for me every time I have been ready to give up.

Personal change can be difficult.  But by putting one foot in front of the other, and never giving up, it happens.  The Lord will guide us by the hand as long as we are willing to continue the journey.  If we climb in the truck and give up, there is nothing he can do for us.  The journey may be painful and will almost certainly be hard, but by continually pressing on in the faith of the Lord, we will reach our goal.


Jayne said...

This might sound a little trite, but I often think of the expression, "Winners never quit and quitters never win." The fact that you went the distance in that endeavor can serve as a reminder that you can do it (or other difficult things) again and again and again.

Mary A said...

I think this post represents an excellent lesson that can help us all. I'm glad your dad helped you to keep going so that you finished and now have this memory to look back on, to remind you that you can go on and finish. And even though your dad helped you, you were the one who chose to go on, so that is something important to remember, too.

Mary A said...

I have just read all your posts and left comments on several. Your blog is very inspiring. Thanks!!

yieldingmyheart said...


I don't think that quote is trite at all. I think it is a key to success for every person who has ever made something of themselves. If you quit, you never know what you can achieve.

Thank you for your thoughts.

yieldingmyheart said...


I truly appreciate all of your thoughtful comments on the blog today.

Dan and Wendy said...

While on my mission, my mission president decided that none of us would get really much accomplished on January 1st (New Year's Day). He challenged us to start reading the Book of Mormon and to see how far we could get before going to bed that night.

I ended staying up about an hour past when I was supposed to go to bed, but I finished the book, start to finish on January 1st, 1986.

Like your 50 mile hike, I think back on that experience when the road ahead looks difficult and I don't think that I can accomplish whatever it is I'm up against.

Props to you for finishing your hike that day.

Becoming LDS said...

Thanks for this post. There are often days when it seems tough to carry on. There are days where climbing into the back of the truck or back into bed sound quite appealing. But it is so true that when we carry on we meet success, accomplishment, and joy. We become stronger and better people. Thanks again for this great post.

Tim Malone said...

You write such wonderful uplifting stories Ed. Thanks so much for sharing these and the lessons you draw from them. I look forward to reading many more. Hang in there.

Rog said...

This story reminds me of my experience running a marathon back in 2006. I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon in June of that year. Since i began my recovery with addiction, I too have been able to draw from that experience. Toward the end of the race, about mile 20, I thought there was no way I could keep going. I did. I finished. What an amazing experience it was to accomplish something that not many people can. This has given me a lot of hope and strength through my road to recovery. Thanks Ed for being a finisher