I think it’s important to try to live your life with as few regrets as possible. This is strictly my opinion, but I think it’s much more likely you will regret not doing something than actually trying something. At least that’s how it has mostly been for me. In other words, go try new things, be adventurous and take some risks. I’m not necessarily saying it’s a great idea to be overly crazy out there, but it can be a good idea to at least get a little bit outside of your comfort zone. You need to know yourself and what you are capable of and what you may or may not enjoy.
I can only think of a few travel or hiking regrets I have. They aren’t too big, and didn’t really bother me at the time, but looking back I kind of wish I made a couple of different choices. They each involve regretting not doing something I had the chance of doing (like I mentioned above). I also recently wrote blog posts dealing with each of them.
My two biggest travel regrets took place on the same trip. In fact, they were only a couple of days apart. The first was in Havasu Canyon in northwest Arizona. I’ve blogged a lot about my amazing, albeit brief, time in Havasu. And that right there is my regret. I hiked into the canyon by myself and had camping reservations for two nights. However, I reached my campsite around lunchtime and explored a lot of the canyon and waterfalls that first day. I decided to hike back out of the canyon the following morning. Looking back at it, I really wish I would have stayed for that second night. I loved that place so much. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I don’t know why I decided to leave early. Well, I guess there were a few reasons. It got dark around 6:00 p.m. in the canyon, so I didn’t have much to do then since I was alone and fires weren’t permitted. I also thought I had seen quite a bit and wasn’t thrilled about eating the food I had packed in.
If I had stayed that second day I could have done plenty more hiking, relaxing on the secluded beaches next to stunning waterfalls, and I probably would have come away with a lot more awesome photos. I really dropped the ball on that one. It’s alright though. It gives me extra motivation to return.
The day after I left Havasu Canyon I arrived at the Grand Canyon, the home of my second big regret. I had a backcountry permit to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and stay two nights before returning to the rim. That sounds like an experience of a lifetime if you ask me. Yet, I didn’t end up doing it. Part of the reason is because I only spent one night in Havasu Canyon. I was still sore from making the steep hike out of there. If I spent that second night there I probably wouldn’t have been as exhausted. It was tough hiking out with a huge backpack the day after hiking down.
I mentioned the few reasons why I didn’t end up hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in my recent post. They mostly dealt with being sore, it getting dark early, and figuring I’d be bored being down there alone for a couple of days. I spent a couple of hours stressing over the decision and eventually decided not to hike down the Bright Angel Trail. I was at peace with my decision after I made it.
It’s not like it’s something I think about often, but I do regret not hiking down to the Colorado River. I think it would have been incredibly memorable and I’m sure it would have been a difficult, but awesome adventure. What makes it worse is that even though I’m still young, I don’t think my knees would allow me to complete that hike now. The hike down would kill them. Again, it’s by no means the end of the world, but looking back I wish I would have endured the pain and soreness to hike to the bottom of the famed canyon and back. I’m sure the experience would have been well worth it.
The third regret I can think of is a pretty small one. It was my final day in Grand Teton National Park. I was deciding on which hike to tackle for the day. I had hiked to Cascade Canyon already and was deciding between Phelps Lake and Amphitheater Lake. I ended up going with the shorter, easier option in Phelps Lake. The hike wasn’t a bad one, but based on photos I have seen I think I made the wrong choice. Amphitheater Lake is supposed to be a great hike. Sure, it would have been at least twice as difficult as it is steeper and longer than Phelps Lake, but I think I was a little lazy in making my choice. I ended up going on a couple other shorter hikes that afternoon, but the long day hike would have been better. Oh well. That’s now at the top of my Hiking To-Do List.
Do you have any hiking or travel regrets?