Take a Hike for Enlightenment

After a four-day Grand Canyon adventure, Dr. Nicolai walked away with a richer outlook on life.

Take a Hike for Enlightenment

I hiked the Grand Canyon recently with a group of buddies. We walked down the South Kaibob trail on a Saturday morning, camped by the Colorado River, and then hiked out Bright Angel trail on an early Monday morning.

Never having done this before, I made some important discoveries. One, as somebody who’d like to learn more survival skills, it was key having folks who knew a lot more than me in that department to follow around.

Being prepared by getting good gear was the first major step.

Thanks to great recommendations from my Outdoor Adventure friends at Miraval, I found a great pack, stocked up on ample amounts of food and water, grabbed a light one-man tent with sleeping bag and roll, packed the right clothes (lots of socks), and was able to do an extensive amount of walking without much damage.

MORE: Nature Can Make You Happier

No blisters, dehydration or major personal injury to be had. A big shout out goes out to Ian and Neil, you guys saved me.

I was, however, the sorest I’d been in a while.

Nine miles up, followed by a five-hour drive home, made my legs feel like quivering piles of jelly. It was interesting trying to will my feet from the garage to the back door, finally collapsing on the couch to the shaking head and smile of my wife, Sara.

Being out in nature for four days also validated things I’ve said in past column posts about the burden of technology, the unnecessary demands it places on life, and the need to unplug from it while tuning into the rhythms of the world.

Seeing the full moon light up the night sky while crickets chirped and the flowing creek buzzed in the background put me instantly into a state of harmonious flow with the living world around me. I slept when it was dark and rose when it was light. Flashlights don’t trump the night sky; same goes for the rising sun as a means to come awake—no need for alarms.

MORE: Could You Be Tech-Free for 7 Days?


Feeling at one with nature provides a peace that is difficult to describe. It is everything that is right and good and true with the world. Too bad it only lasted a couple of days.

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