People are good

February 22, 2021

A heart filled reminder human beings often act from a place of good intentions, wanting to help others and be of service in a way which comes naturally to them.

Taking a moment to appreciate in awe, the majestical surroundings and our last view of Glacier Peak!

Expedition-style traveling has taken me to some extraordinary places, humbling me with infallible beauty, and the most heart-warming interactions with extraordinary people. Living out of a backpack, bicycle, or sea kayak whilst exploring unfamiliar environments does lend itself to witnessing and experiencing the most wonderful side of human nature. At times you are vulnerable, lost, tired, injured, or simply intrigued, and the only option is to fully trust a stranger and either seek or accept their help.

Reassuring signage to know you are heading in the right direction and nearly halfway there!

The other year, a long walk from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) certainly strengthened this strong faith in humanity. In brief, the walk covers 4500km winding through the western states of Washington, Oregon, and California, usually taking between 4–6 months to complete. Hikers must be self-sufficient, carrying their own shelter, safety equipment, and food for up to 10 days at a time. The trail moves through remote mountain ranges, high altitude passes, bear and mountain lion country, and vast desert stretches with no water. In short, the PCT is an ultimate adventure to expand personal boundaries of physical and mental potential. Sounds enticing perhaps?

Sunset splendour at Granite Pass Lake embracing the beauty and the beasts, in this case, mosquitos!

Of course, this journey was only made possible and more enjoyable by the help and assistance of others – some known, some unknown. My partner's Dad, Dave played an integral part as operations manager sending us our fortnightly food and care boxes which we had prepared pre-departure, and adding additional goodies as we got progressively hungrier! Along the track, we were graced with spontaneous offerings of generosity from strangers, known as ‘Trail Angels’ – people setting up picnics for passing hikers with all the delectable delights you had been fantasising about for weeks. Then once in the Mojave Desert, unknown selfless souls provided lifesaving services, dropping off thousands of litres of water at trailheads preventing us pilgrims from perishing in the heat. What goodness!

Daniel was overwhelmed with gratitude for the generous offerings selflessly supplied by the Trail Angels.

Another poignant example of people’s innate goodness was highlighted the night our tent blew away in a violent storm. We had marched all day into gale-force winds exhausting and exerting all muscles to simply stay standing. Longing for that relieving moment to arise at the end of the day, as you climb into your portable home, the one source of protection from the elements. Alas, in the winds it was ripped from the ground and blown down the darkening valley never to be seen again… All that we could scavenge were some broken tent poles. The night was upon us and a snowstorm was on the way, fortunately, it was only half a mile walk to a hopeful road…

Stunner sunrise out towards Mt Rainier, Washington. RIP our beloved MSR Hubba Hubba home.

Within five minutes of our arrival to the remote road, a car had stopped, and the most amazing generous kind-hearted people whisked us into the back seat, thrust baguettes and chocolate upon us, and drove us back to their magical mountain chalet home. This incredible couple went above and beyond to help us in every which way possible – generously giving their time and energy as they nourished us with delicious homemade feasts, housing us whilst we searched for a new tent, and openly sharing their personal stories of inspiration. It was such a privilege to have met such beautiful selfless people and we are forever thankful our tent blew away to have had this enriching encounter of just how good people can be.

The highest point on the PCT reaching 13,300 ft at Forrester Pass in the John Muir Wilderness.

From my own experience, seeing the good in others helps us to accept the goodness within ourselves and cultivates a greater sense of compassion for all. Acknowledgment that we as humans have the potential for both good and bad, gives us the opportunity to choose what part of ourselves we would like to bring forward. Along with the understanding our attention is often drawn to what we focus it on. How goods that? We can choose to put forward our own goodness from within, just as we can choose to look for and focus on the goodness in others.

I will leave you with a Sanskrit mantra that I like to start the day with to fuel my intention to do good and the belief in the goodness of others:

  • May all beings be happy

  • May all beings be healthy

  • May all beings look to the good of each other

  • May pain and suffering be eased

  • May all beings be peaceful

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