Why Even Hike?

Here’s an interesting question that I have definitely pondered before as I struggle to get out of bed at 4:30am on a Saturday: Why should I even go hiking?? It can be difficult to see the appeal of walking around outside with all of your necessary belongings only to end up further from the place you started from, sometimes intending to sleep in the middle of nowhere. There's more to it than you may think...

Written by

Bronwyn Laurence

Published on

November 8, 2021

@rvbookingcom on Instagram

Here’s an interesting question that I have definitely pondered before as I struggle to get out of bed at 4:30am on a Saturday: Why should I even go hiking?? It can be difficult to see the appeal of walking around outside with all of your necessary belongings only to end up further from the place you started from, sometimes intending to sleep in the middle of nowhere. On the ground. Eating food that only tastes good after a long bout of walking in the woods. But people have been hiking for ages now, so there must be something to it 🤷‍♀️

Backpacking became popularized in the 1960s with the Hippie movement, where people traveled around freely and consequently with few belongings. However it is worth noting that Mount Everest was first summited in 1922 and the Appalachian Trail was first hiked in the 1950s. So backpacking and hiking have been around the block a few times already, and they are ready for the next debut.

@girlwhogoes on Instagram

As an American culture we have come to value comfort, convenience, cell service and the ultimate glory that is air conditioning. Beyond “value” even — “rely on” seems more apt. And in an age where few things are difficult anymore, we have become soft. Definitely physically, as obesity ranks a top killer for the United States population, but mentally as well. Where is the problem solving outside of the conference room? The meditation that comes with intentional redundancy? Or the cherishing of fresh air, shade, ice cold water and silence?

I mean, the majority of Americans do not know how asparagus is grown. Being so far removed from the environment that provides us with the means to live (re: food, water, materials and energy) makes it increasingly difficult to appreciate it, and thus, protect it. So first off, taking a hike around the park helps us reconnect to our surroundings — remembering that nature supports us and that we are not separate from it.

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Going on a walk also has countless overt benefits such as calorie burning, cardiovascular training, stability and mobility training. Doing hard things allows our bodies to strengthen and for resilience to grow. It also calms the racing mind that has a tendency to believe that our self-worth is directly related to our productivity. No, there’s nothing wrong with getting your work done and feeling efficient, but it is also important to longevity to find ways to let go of stress and feel worthy of rest even when there are things that still need to be done (because, let’s face it, there is always going to be something that “needs” to be done). Hiking lends us space in our mind and our physical environment, giving both our thoughts and feet a place to land.

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Basically, getting back in touch with nature allows us to be more in tune with our bodies and minds, show gratitude & compassion to the Earth and others, and understand hardship (and thus the human experience) just a little bit more. Also, it’s just freaking pretty. So there you have it folks. Get outside, often, and allow yourself to feel the benefits in your bones.

Happy Hiking!

Bronwyn xx

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