The other side of doubt

Hiking and (in) decisions

By Frits Ahlefeldt (drawing and text)

Man in the belly of monster
Hiker swallowed by indecision

People in doubt are often advised to take a walk and think things over, but at the same time doubt and indecision on a mountain, a long stretch without water, in a snowstorm or in the middle of a raging river can eat you alive 

An old soldier truth often repeated is that “any decision is better than no decision”. This also holds true, out on the hiking trails, when doubt and indecision paralyze hikers exposed in dangerous terrain.

In those places, time is not on your side and any second you spend out in freezing cold water, facing an avalanche or the burning desert sun, can dramatically diminish your changes of making it out alive.

To me this double problem of of following a clear path, while walking in doubt to reach a decision, is a strange, but very interesting part of the hiking universe. Many hikers head out on the trails in doubt, at crossroads in their lives, or after a dramatic change has thrown them into the belly of doubt of what to do next.  Following a well marked trail is the opposite of doubt, it is something simple and straight forward.

Wonder if the simplicity of walking can make other things easier to grasp, and if hikers sometimes use this when they turn to walking, to think things over and “reach a decision” as if decision is a place somewhere out there. A place where the fog of doubt is gone and they can see the path ahead clearly.

 

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