Why Hike?

The recent closure of access to the top of Tehachapi Mountain has resulted in a time of reflection, questions, and observation. During the past week community members, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts have come forth making phone calls, scheduling meetings, creating a Facebook page, and writing letters expressing confusion, outrage, disbelief, and loss. Letters published in local newspapers are filled with personal stories requesting a reopening of the area’s icon. Some have even expressed the life goal of someday hiking to the top. Now the opportunity has been snatched away.

I often get asked why I hike, why solo, why for days on end, is it safe, why not just go to a fancy hotel, what is the big deal? The list really goes on and on. I love questions. Questions result in personal growth.

Why I hike?
Is it
…to enjoy wildlife and explore the outdoors?

…is it to enjoy the company of others and to meet new and interesting people?

…is it to experience difficult stream crossings, natural obstacles, and physical challenge?

…or is it the pleasure of carrying all you need to stay alive on your back and the acquisition of lightweight hiking gear?

For me it is all of these, but most of all it is the shear pleasure, independence, and freedom of moving from one place to another. My favorite Christmas ornament was given to me by a special hiking friend that expresses it best. The ornament simply states,
“HIKE NOW.”

Why do you get outside and hike?

8 Comments

  1. I too like to hike because it keeps me in the present. Take me hiking and my worries go away. I just enjoy the sights, sounds, smells around me and the feel of the warm sun on my face. I also like to challenge myself with the physical efforts of hiking/backpacking. Plus it makes me feel confident that I can do what a lot of women my age wouldn’t even attempt. Then there is the added bonus of all the new friends I’ve made thru hiking. I’ve met some pretty interesting people on the trail and they were all nice.

  2. When I hike, I am most present. I’m not dwelling on the past or anxious about the future. I am present and LIVING life…and that is the best feeling:)

    • So glad you brought that up. I also think that is what thru-hiking does most for me, especially when hiking solo. It sets my brain to think only about the next step, the next water source, keeping track of gear (not losing important items), where I am, and where I am going next. That is it. A relief for constant multi-taskers. Thanks for sharing.

  3. If you are a hiker, you get it. If you are not, the explanations probably don’t sink home. I enjoyed following your blog this summer. I was about a week behind you on the PCT this summer for my section hike and actually saw some of the people that I saw pictured here the week before.

    Keep on!
    Slowjoe

    • You are so right! It is an ongoing challenge to defend and be an advocate for getting out, feeling the benefits, and appreciating our natural surroundings. So cool you followed right behind. I just love the new friends and people you meet on the trail. Glad to know you have been visiting this site.

  4. The little ones are so cute!!

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