At first, when I thought about writing an article about hiking I was gonna go for something like “why is hiking better than…” or “why is hiking so much cooler than running”. Even “why you should be hiking instead of laying down at the beach”.
Nah! Hiking is not better. It is just different. A complete different thing. It is a matter of preference and objectives and it is one of the thing I truly identify with.
And maybe you do too. Or not. Maybe you should give it a try, or another! You may realize that hiking isn’t walking from point A to point B, some route you could do in 20mn staying warm in your car! Remember all these times as a kid when your parents would drag you on these trails. Now is the time to give it a second chance. Best case, the net few lines will help you realize how cool hiking is and get you in your shoes and hitting the trails tomorrow. Even a new hobby! Who knows?
Im a slow walker but I never walk back. Abraham Lincoln
Alright, let’s go, grab your shoes, some water, a Clif bar or two and follow me. You won’t regret it. And if you do…well, too bad for you! ☺
Worst case, you could discover a new hobby by reading!
Take a break! Like, for real!
I’m not talking about losing your cell service for 20mn when you get into public transportation or somewhere random where 4G is not a thing. A REAL BREAK, without any depressing news, polluting news feed or notifications, no pictures of your ex on Facebook!
Take your time. Enjoy your time. You own it.
And taking your time allows you to reconnect with all the little things life has to offer to you that may come unnoticed in your everyday life. May it be these birds singings, the calm and silence of these landscape, the sound of the wind going through the trees. You refocus yourself on what is important to you, that connection with the environment, realizing that happiness is as simple as this.
You also get to enjoy things you take for granted…you know, like taking a shower.
After a 6 hour hike, smelling so bad, even your beloved cat would run away from you. Dying to eat that sandwich…made out of bread ham and butter!? The one you’ve been dreaming about after 10mn into your hike. Drinking a cold soda after a full day of jumping around rocks or putting on your best PJs and lay down doing nothing! All these things that you don’t really enjoy in your everyday life because…”you don’t have time”.
Expectations drop. You see the good everywhere.
Hiking has got 3 highs >> the end of the hike, followed by the shower, and the fooooood! Every mile gets you closer to the end. Well, unless you get lost and it becomes a step toward awkward anxiety. Every hill is a challenge behind you, every summit you reach is a success, every view is a new surprise
Stay humble, there are no small victories but only great finish!
No winner, no loser. What matters is the way you took, the paths you walked on. Put a foot in front of the other, walk your way through the the woods and remind yourself that we are such a small thing on this planet, that everything we do as an impact. Mother Nature will win! You better watch your mouth and take care of her.
Be engaging, and passionate.
Discussions come easy with your new friends met along the way. Chances are you’ll end up talking about common issues: how heavy your bag is, how many blisters you got and where, that trail that took you an hour and a half to find and that unbelievable view you got “over there, behind that big rock”.
And then, eventually, become part of the hiking family
Part of that family, these like-minded people who enjoy spending their weekends getting at it on these hills. Priceless. And free. Right? And you will always end up meeting new people, unexpected encounter that will change your life forever, or quick encounter to fill in your water bottle
And YOU will be one of their encounter as well. A simply a random hiker they’ve met along the way, whose story will inspire them for years. Because every hiker is unique and has its own story.
Becoming some kind of alien to your family and friends.
They will start staring at you. You know this look, that same one that would translate to “why? Why do you do that?”. They will not understand why you spend all your paid time off walking on dusty trail letting your toes macerating in your boots instead of laying down by the pool in a 5 star hotel or by the ocean at the closest beach.
Doesn’t matter what they say, what they think. You don’t care because you love it! And you’re proud of it.
And finally, you can still brag around with your handsome hiking tan lines at the communal swimming pool