The People You Meet on Trail

There’s a connectedness that comes from immersing yourself in nature; especially when you have the opportunity to travel to one of our amazing National Parks! I recently traveled to Washington, where I visited Olympic and North Cascades National Parks.

While visiting national parks it is not uncommon to run into the same people. You might be staying at the same campground or historic hotel; reading similar articles about things to do and places to see; hiking the same trails; etc. I expect this when visiting the parks, but our National Parks often attract new people to the outdoors who may not expect such a phenomenon. 

I had this experience while hiking in the North Cascades. I got up on a Monday morning, hoping to find a fun trail to stretch my legs. I drove to the famous Diablo Lake, where I found the trailhead for Thunder Creek. I had plans to take Thunder Creek to Fourth of July Pass. I got my bag packed with the 10 essentials for hiking and set out. Within the first two miles, you encounter a swinging bridge over a beautiful glacial stream that is Thunder Creek. I came up behind a lady encouraging her husband to pose for a photo. Knowing that if it was me, I’d want my photo taken as well, I offered to take a photo of them together. She was so gracious and excited, and quickly returned the favor for me. We said goodbye and went our separate ways. 

The next day, I decided to do another trail near the North Cascades Institute's Environmental Learning Center. The trail climbs up and over Diablo Lake, and eventually takes you to a hydroelectric dam that powers much of Seattle. I begin walking and about 2 miles in, who do I see but the same couple from the day before on a trail that was 30 miles away. I look up and say “Oh Hello! I saw you yesterday at Thunder Creek.” She looks so happy and shocked in disbelief. She gets very excited and says, “we must have been family in a past life, we are linked.” This comment made me so happy and changed my perspective on seeing the same people on the trail. 

I know that seeing the same people in national parks is normal because you’re within the same 50-mile radius of each other. But this woman saw it in a different way, in a different light. She knew that we were connected beyond the now, and beyond the trail. And the trail is what brought us back together in this life.

We ended up taking a selfie together to commemorate our time together. It was a quick exchange that will change my perspective forever. Rather than be frustrated or annoyed by seeing the same people who are wanting to see the exact same thing as you, be grateful that all these people are there to enjoy it with you. You never know who you might meet on the trail and how they will change your life.