In Gratitude of 2020 – New Year’s Hiking Experience

posted in: Deven's Journey | 3

We went hiking yesterday, January 1st, 2021. I am sharing pictures and experiences from that in this blog post. While thinking about it yesterday night, the dominating emotion is that of gratitude. How grateful I am for being able to do something like this!

While thinking about it how grateful I am also for the year 2020. I write this, while not ignoring or disregarding many people’s loss and grief in 2020.

Gratitude to 2020 – among a range of things, for positives and blessings in my life: The unique circumstances with Covid-19, and its impact in several ways, encouraged me to appreciate what I have. Our Mother Earth is a tiny planet in the grand scheme of the universe where we measure distances in lightyears. I am living as a human species whose modern history of 70,000 or so years is a blip in the radar in the time continuum of more than 4 billion years of history of our planet Earth. Life can be and is fragile; 2020 inspired me to do something with it when I can. My phycical existence is a tiny little speck or a dot in the big picture if it can amount to even that. And yet, I am connected in spaciousness to a vibrant universal consciousness to be able to make a real difference. I am grateful to the year 2020 to remind me of this all, and creating a perspective.

#GratitudeFamilyandFriends – You provide me with context to relate to the world. You bless me with comfort, warmth, safety, and a zillion reasons to smile every day.

#GratitudeMyInnerAbundace – my deep sense of gratitude for awareness, ability to think, read, and write, for the inner compass that guides me while navigating the terrain of my life.

Top of the World View – Canyon Acres Trail

Nilay picked up the Canyon Acres Trail in Laguna Beach to hike to what is described as the Top of the World View. How blessed we are to be able to reach such a beautiful place within 30 minutes from home. There is a concern with Covid-19 and being exposed to so many people while being out there; we banked on precautions and the fact that we are outside in a wide-open area and not a closed space.

We started hiking up around 10:00 AM, and going up for 15-20 minutes or so, started seeing the Pacific Ocean in the backdrop. It was a bright sunny day with an incredible crispness in the air.

Perspective of the Pacific Ocean as we started hiking up
Perspective of the Pacific Ocean as we started hiking up
Gratitude 2020 - Canyon Acres Trail - Laguna Beach
The view of the Pacific Ocean + San Clemente Island | View after going up for 30 min or so

Surprise and Views with Mountains

Mountains always create a perspective to appreciate all that is around. In this case, the hike also opened me up to a view on another side of the mountains. Little did I realize or think about it; there is a clear view of Mt. Baldy. The snow in the mountains creates a stunning view of the white color mountain picks in the far distance.

Surprise, especially in nature, can pull us to be a present moment so quickly and refreshingly. Don’t we all enjoy moments of spontaneity?

Views of Mount Baldy from Laguna Beach Mountains
Discovery of view on the other side | Didn't think about this side until I saw the view | The surprise helped me lose myself in the moment
Moment of Spontaneity and Surprise

Our Footprints

The 73 and 133 highways in the backdrop didn’t take long to remind me how close, and yet, how detached I could be from Mother Nature. I am grateful to be able to realize it and appreciate it. We are making and leaving our “footprints.”

As we continued hiking up, there were several spots where we could see the hiking trail in the backdrop. My footprints are there on it, hopefully, lighter and softer and transient. Breathing became a little heavier while hiking up, and the perspective of the trail looking back also made me feel good to realize how far up I have come along.

Trail that we hiked on - Jan 01 2021
While hiking on this trail, I hope my footprints are lighter, softer, and short-lived leaving no trace behind

The Moments at the Top

The views from the top of the trail were stunning. With us being able to see the mountain ranges and ocean in 360 degrees view, it really felt like the top of the world. Looking at the ocean and peak of snow-covered Mount Baldy made me forget everything else to be just in the moment. Nature has a way to heal and soothe and nurture and recoup.


The moments at the top reminded me of words from Albert Einstein one more time:

A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.


As much as we enjoy being out there, isn’t capturing memories in pictures fun as well? 🙂

Happy New Year - 2021
Happy New Year - 2021 - v1
Nilay - Laguna Beach - Jan 01 2021
Top of the World - Laguna Beach - Jan 01 2021
Gratitude - 2020
Spontaneity - Gift of Presence Moment - Happy New Year 2021 v1
Spontaneity - Gift of Presence Moment - Happy New Year 2021

Going down is always faster than going up. It can press my knees a little bit, though. So, I need to be careful about it.

We found a nice spot to picnic in an open lot where we could sit under the canopy of trees. Nilesh took this beautiful picture, capturing the moment and the spirit. Looking at the image today made me think of this question? Am I looking at the tree or the sky? The perspective and experience of hiking renewed for me one more time the appreciation of the sky and open space that is all around me.

There is more space than anything else, and that gives me the room to expand, to explore, to dissolve all that can be going on inside my mind.”

My gratitude for that as well.

picnic after the hike - what do you see - a tree or the sky

The Gift

Even if we were outside for only 3-4 hours, the experience connected me with still from inside. It feels so soothing and rejuvenating.


I read this today in The Clear Light from Steve Taylor – The GiftThe timing and resonsnace of it couldn’t be any better. 🙂


As you breathe, inhale deeply

in gratitude for the gift of air.


As you eat, swallow slowly

in gratitude for the gift of food.


As you see, look attentively

in gratitude for the wonder of the world.


As you live, be authentic and fearless

in gratitude for the gift of life.


I write this in gratitude for the year 2020 and all the blessings in my life. Happy New Year!

3 Responses

  1. Nilesh Bhoot
    | Reply

    January 1st, 2021 was a beautiful day with 360 amazing view. One side blue of Pacific ocean and other side snow covered Mt. Baldy range. Off course in company of lovely friends 💕. We are blessed with The Grace and crossed dangerous 2020 safely. Wish You All Safe And COVID Free 21st Year Of 21st Century 🤲

  2. Archit Kagalwala
    | Reply

    [* Shield Security plugin marked this comment as “Pending Moderation”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    Nice article. Even though we get frustrated with the lockdowns and restrictions, I agree that we have to take a step back and appreciate the things we do have. Many are not so lucky. Happy New Year!

  3. pratik Shah
    | Reply

    Nice article, pictures & reporting of your trip & thoughts Deven bhai. We are truly blessed with good friends & opportunities available to us. Wish you all very happy healthy & prosperous new year.

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