Why Do We Hike?
Thoughts from a thru-hiker anticipating her first 2,000 miler on the AT.
Hey everyone! My name is Anna, but my trail name is Blossom. I will be beginning my Appalachian Trail thru-hike on May 8, 2022. Yeah, this is a bit of a late start but I am graduating from Appalachian State University this spring and am basically hitting the trail immediately after I move out of Boone, NC while stuffing all of my things back into my family home in the suburbs of Charlotte, NC. I’ve been a hiking enthusiast for four years now and have completed smaller thru-hikes in the last year or so. This is going to be my first “big boy,” if you will. I will be primarily vlogging for The Trek, but I love writing and have found it refreshing to write in a way that isn’t so structured and academic.
Man, We Really Love Hiking
Other than the immense gas inflation, inescapable technological advances, and the pressure of societal success and productivity, why else do we hike? Four years ago, when I started my hiking journey, this wasn’t exactly the reality of the United States. Is it really about an escape? Is it part of our biology to want to be immersed in nature? Do we like the views, the waterfalls, the fauna or flora? Every answer is so individual to the person which is arguably the most beautiful part about asking hikers this question!
Here’s my answer. There is a sense of awe on the trail that compares to no other sense of gratitude. This sense of awe can be found not just at the beautiful peaks and summits but also deeply immersed in the forests. To know that the ecology around you is a part of you. Your soul flourishes while passing over the rooted trail. Your heart lightens as the sun glistens through the trees to create heavenly rays in the aura. You can’t shake this feeling that you belong in this atmosphere instead of in society.
These are just some thoughts that I have been considering often as I prepare to begin my thru-hike. I want to hear any other reader’s thoughts on your hiking adventures and your “will to hike” also!
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