On our 'day of adventure' I selected a field trip to visit the mires (the high bogs of the Alps) in search of Golden Eagles. We did not see any eagles, but we had plenty to look at. After explaining the difference between a high moor and a low moor - they both look the same to the untrained eye, our guide, Christian Wittker, caught everyone's attention when he said, "This is the adventure part of the hike. If you would like to feel what a moor is like, we could take our shoes off and walk barefoot across the moors."
You could hear crickets in the silence that greeted this suggestion. For a group of professional adventurers, there was a decided lack of enthusiasm. I was running a quick risk assessment in my head "What if I hurt my feet on something sharp? Is this covered by my travel insurance?" My mind then moved onto the real issues "What if I get cold i.e. uncomfortable? What if I don't like it? I haven't walked barefoot since I was a kid! Can I still do it at my age? Should I?" I realized I was having the biggest adventure of the trip and it was all in my mind - I hadn't done anything yet.
Figuring I could put my shoes back on if it was too painful or slippery, I doffed my boots along with some other brave souls. The rest of our group headed to drier ground and our merry band of barefoot hikers tentatively tiptoed through the cold, wet moors. It was fantastic!
Yes, my feet found the thistles quickly, but I made friends faster in those fifteen minutes than in days at most conferences. We helped each other find the softest walkways and took each other' s picture for bragging rights on Facebook. My feet felt like they had been at a very expensive spa when finished, and I could cross barefoot bog-walking off my bucket list.
What I learned from this experience was how scary the situation became when it was unexpected or impossible to prepare for. There is no equipment you can buy for barefoot walking and no special training. You have to believe you can cope without a training manual, relying on your willingness to try something your ancestors did for thousands of years. When was the last time you made yourself uncomfortable with a small challenge? As you visit the mountains of western Canada what you unique adventures can you add to your trip?
Carol writes and speaks on Reinventure®, the process of reinventing your life and business with adventure. For more information go to www.CarolPatterson.ca