Before taking off for the West Coast Trail in July, one of our LOLA trekkers, Janine, had written this post in anticipation of her journey.  The journey wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Read about Janine’s experience below and what she discovered when hiking the West Coast Trail.

“The miracle is not that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” This is a quote that resonated with me after completing the 7-night trip on the West Coast Trail. As I wrote in the “before” blog, I like to be in control. I like to lead, not follow. Hiking the West Coast Trail required me to surrender this completely in order to finish. In fact, I was always bringing up the rear and always following.

The LOLA team was experienced, the other hikers were seasoned, but I was new to most of this. All the elements were at play – the rain, the tides, the mud, and my general apprehension about ladders and the terrain. I found each day tougher than the day before, despite the gift of the beautiful beach settings, warm fires and delicious cuisine. I’d start the day optimistic, but as the day progressed, I found my mental state slipping. I’d lose control of my toughness, my strength and any courage I had. In some cases, I actually felt defeated as I worked so hard to put one boot in front of the other. I even fell a few times. I was finding it tough, too tough.

But, the sun did eventually shine. The LOLA team is highly intuitive. It was a combination of honest conversation, some needed rest & recovery, and surrendering some control (some weight from my pack for a full day!) that allowed me to finish strong and with a sense of pride and gratitude. I certainly know why we call it “the comfort” zone. I’m back in my comfort zone now and very happy to be here. But, I’m certainly stronger, a little tougher and feeling a glorious appreciation for the leaders who lead me to the finish one step at a time.

Janine Keogh, Toronto