I’m not sure why, but every time I see a mountain I think, “I want to climb that.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a small hill, a boulder, or Mount Rainier. I want to climb it. Enter hiking into life. Hiking provides the most intriguing interaction with an area possible. When you’re hiking there is nothing between you and life. Hell, often when hiking there is little between you and death as well. Perhaps this is why many adventurers make hiking a foundation sport and use it to hone other skills to perfection. After all the absolute beginner only needs to be able to walk and the experienced hiker can scale mountains in a day. “Why hike”, you ask?
1. Hiking can be dangerous. In the wilderness there are animals such as bears, moose, cougars (both kinds), nasty bugs and poisonous snakes. Conquering scary situations builds character and confidence. Every hike has an element of adventure.
2. Hiking is a thrill. Many hiking trails ascend steep mountains, have high drop offs, or if you are really lucky a nice pool of ice cold water to jump into.
3. Cool Gear. I like to test my outdoor gear on day trips before graduating it to the more strenuous camping or backpacking trips.
4. Family Time. My boys aren’t big enough for backpacking, but they are big enough for hiking. Hiking is a natural progression into backpacking and everything else outdoors. I get a few hours to teach skills such as tracking, wilderness survival, and patience.
5.Reconnaissance. When I want to check out a lake or river for fishing or kayaking, hiking is the best option. If you want to know what your new neighborhood is like, hiking it will do the job. Scouting some deer or elk? I bet you’re hiking.
Hiking’s not glamorous like boxing and mixed martial arts, or even as cool as cross fit. There is no trophy at the end of the trail. Although, occasionally there is a beer and a damn nice view.