April 13th was the warmest day of the year, a balmy 78 degrees and sunny. My friends and I skipped class, packed up our daypacks, loaded into my Jeep and drove an hour to Big Cottonwood Canyon with the intent to hike the beautiful Donut Falls trail.
Spoiler alert: that plan went down the drain faster than you can flush a goldfish down the toilet.
We drove the hour to Big Cottonwood Canyon with high energy, getting a solid 22 miles a gallon in my Jeep. As we entered and drove up the canyon, my friends who had never visited before looked out the windows, their breath taken away by Utah’s beauty.
We pull up to the trailhead with little snow from the warm weather. The four of us hike up the short trail to the one of a kind waterfall. We spend some time looking at the waterfall and testing the nearly freezing cold water to see who’s brave enough to hop in. After nobody wanted to walk back with freezing feet, we headed back to the car and drove off, tired but invigorated.
That was the plan at least.
THE LESS THAN IDEAL.
We drove up the canyon with a good 14 miles a gallon, and to my embarrassment, quickly realized the road to the trailhead was closed. If we wanted to hike the falls we would have to walk that road for several more miles. So we parked across the road ready to hike 3.5 miles up to Lake Desolation. It soon became clear that snow spikes would have been useful for how much snow there was covering the trail. We never made it to the lake but I learned something that day.
We had way more fun hiking through the unexpected than we would have ever had hiking to donut falls. Impulse drove us that day, making the best of a less than ideal situation. Building snowmen, making snow angels, running down the steep side of the mountain and jumping into the wet fluffy snow, somersaulting down the trail and just laughing at how much fun we were having. None of that would have happened if my plan had worked out. We would have missed out one of the best moments the year had unexpectedly brought us.
THE SPONTANEITY AND THE DELIBERATE.
The spontaneity and the deliberate are part of our lives. Sometimes it’s ok if our life’s plan doesn’t work out the way we want it to. In fact, for most of us, I don’t think life will ever work out the way we planned. But life always works out. And the journey will be oh so much more enjoyable when we’re open to new options. New trails will open up that lead us to places we’ve never been before. I hope to all of my readers that your deliberate actions may turn into spontaneous decisions. Don’t take life too seriously. It’s impossible to try to drive a racing train down the tracks of life when you’ve never done it before, so just enjoy the scenery around you instead. Let that train take you somewhere amazing and unforgettable.
Remember there will be instances where roads will seem closed off to us. They will seem unattainable, but look around you, because there may always be an even better trail just across the road.