The other day I hiked a series of three trails in Capitol Reef National Park. I waited until the heat of the day had passed to start my hike, and other than the couple I saw as I parked in the trailhead parking area, I didn’t see a single person on the entire 7.5 miles. I had a trail map with me, but it didn’t have any details on it. And the trail wasn’t well worn. It wound around (and sometimes over) large boulders and through bushes and across large sandstone slabs. I had never been there before, so I couldn’t rely on my own memory to get me through Cohab Canyon, Frying Pan, Cassidy Arch and Gorge Wash.

Soon after I started off on the trail, I saw the first of what must have been a hundred piles of rocks. They were the breadcrumbs left by people who had been there before. They comforted me and pointed the way. Without the cairns along the route, I would have gotten utterly lost.

I felt such gratitude for those who had taken the time during their own hike to pile the rocks on top of one another. I felt so supported — by people who will never see my face or know my name or fully understand what a difference they made for me that early evening. I felt inspired to build a few cairns of my own in areas where I didn’t see the path right away. And as I walked along, I gained a felt understanding of how connected we all are, even when we don’t realize it. There I was, by myself, in the middle of the wilderness. And yet, I was so far from being alone. I was being supported and guided and helped by who knows how many other people. The beauty of that feeling matched the stunning scenery. It allowed me to feel safe and relaxed. It allowed me to set my worries about where I was going aside, and just enjoy scampering around.

There are many times in my life when I’ve gone through things without seeking support. What I got on the trails of Capitol Reef is how wise it is to seek and accept the support of those who have already been down the path that I am entering. As long as I’m aiming to go where they went, it behooves me to leverage their learnings.

Are there places in your life where you would benefit from the counsel, support, or guidance of someone who has been there, or been through what you are going through, before? Are you seeking the advice and help of mentors, advisors, and experts? Are there things you could navigate even more effectively or easily if you did?

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