I try my best to learn SOMETHING new when traveling solo and my recent hike to Sant Jeroni on a Montserrat day trip was definitely life-changing. The highest point is 1,236 m (4,055 ft) and the hike to Sant Jeroni is an estimated 4-5 hours going up and down, but it took me close to 7. I wanted to turn back so many times, but I happy to say I completed it. Here are fifteen life lessons learned on the hike to Sant Jeroni and hiking Montserrat alone.
Sometimes you have to go alone
The weekend in Barcelona, the ride on the train from Barcelona to Montserrat, and the Sant Jeroni hike were all done on my own. I initially wanted to take a tour, but my indecisiveness caused me to miss out on the one provided by my hotel. With some tips from the concierge and my own research, I found my way (and saved some money). I initially wanted to go to the top to get nice aerial views but it became more motivational after a while.
There will be obstacles
From narrow paths, rocks, stairs going up and down, to me not wearing the proper shoes, many things were in the way on the hike to Sant Jeroni. Despite the obstacles, it didn’t stop me from continuing. Similarly to life’s journey, you should always find your way through any situation.
Find a source of encouragement
With no one there to cheer me on, I had to find a source of encouragement to keep going. I spoke affirmations, sang encouraging songs and pushed myself to the very end.
You’ll encounter different people along the way
On the hiking trails to Sant Jeroni, there were many men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds along the way. Some were nice while others just passed me by. It didn’t affect my end result in any way.
Don’t compare yourself to others
While going up I became discouraged when people that started after me got ahead before me. I immediately checked myself because I realized everyone’s journey through the hike was for different reasons. There were some people doing 15-20 minute trails, the full Montserrat hiking tour to the top, while others were there for rock climbing or have picnic lunches. Comparison is really the thief of joy; appreciate each step you take in your own walk.
Rest when needed
I barely work out and became breathless often. Had I not rested and recharged, I could’ve passed out or something much worst. Don’t believe the “sleep when you die” hype. Everyone needs to take a break every once in a while.
Follow helpful signs
Along the Sant Jeroni hike, there were many helpful signs allowing me to estimate the amount of time left going up and down. In life, it is your choice at the end of the day to follow the sign or get lost making the journey a little longer than it should.
You don’t always remember how you got there
There was a map towards the beginning of the Sant Jeroni hike trail, but silly me didn’t think to take a picture to figure out where I was going and it became difficult going down. I thought I was going the right way, but I was doing the total opposite. Sometimes you have to start at the last successful point to get yourself back on track
It may get scary
On my way down the sun began to set. I tried my best to walk as fast as possible and retrace my steps (there are two paths to get down), but I couldn’t beat the light. It was scary, but I had to find encouragement again in order to keep going.
Sometimes the scariest or most difficult moments would lead you to pray. If I didn’t say one prayer in my entire life, I sure did when I got lost and I’m grateful that it was answered.
It’s okay to ask for help
My prayer was simply to “send help”. As I was trying to go back to retrace my steps, I found a young man walking my way. Some may say it was a coincidence, but I KNOW God heard me. When you’re in a rut, don’t be too ashamed to ask someone for help.
Only look back to see how far you’ve come
As I previously mentioned, there were so many times I wanted to go back. My legs hurt and I was tired, but every time I looked back, it encouraged me to finish the goal.
You’ll get frustrated; even when you’re almost there
The last 10-15 minutes were TOUGH and I was getting upset. My camera battery was low, there were very steep stairs to climb and I was just ready to turn back. I’ve noticed that right before you get a breakthrough, it becomes difficult. Try your best to endure.
The top isn’t always that glamorous
Don’t get me wrong, there were amazing views and I cried when I got there, but the top of Sant Jeroni wasn’t what I expected at all. I would’ve been more upset had I not done the full Sant Jeroni hike and I’m glad that I did.
Set new goals
There are many other things to accomplish and staying in your ‘last win’ will get old. Never become stagnant on your journey. Set new goals and crush them. For someone that isn’t very athletic, the hike to Sant Jeroni was a great accomplishment and I’ve never been more proud of myself. I missed the cable car back down and had a completely different adventure after taking the Sant Joan Funicular rack railway and searching for the train station, but I had an awesome experience. If you plan to visit Barcelona, a Montserrat day trip is worth it; even if you don’t take the hike to the top. If you’re an adventure seeker or like hikes in general, this is an activity for you.