Why Do You Hike?
We all have our reasons for doing what we do but for the longest time I didn’t really understand why I hiked, I just knew I loved it and that was enough for me. But the longer I went without really understanding why I loved it so much, it began to bring different curiosities and realizations to the surface.
I feel as though for most people, we do something for one of two primary reasons:
- It’s a coping mechanism
- It’s a release
In the past, I’ve turned to things like exercise, reading, writing, sarcasm, and driving down back country roads with music blaring for hours in order to release something within me. They’ve all served their purposes well over the years but hiking and writing (and if we’re being honest, sarcasm as well) have always been with me, even when I didn’t realize it.
As a kid, my parents took me to see a therapist and I never felt as though it did me any good. I would sit there feeling more like I was in trouble and being interrogated than like I was being helped or was there for my own good. Therapists are talented people, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes they just can’t prescribe the medications that are really necessary.
I have found that I hike for my general health. Being outside is invaluable time for me, time that I can choose to think or not to think. It’s a time when I can choose push myself physically without ever feeling like I’m exercising and it’s a time I get to ponder what I want in life and whether or not I’m on the right path to get myself there. Hiking lets me be unequivocally and unapologetically myself. It gets my heart rate up and it soothes my soul; it causes my mind to endlessly wander in every direction.
Mother Nature doesn’t care what I’m wearing or how my hair looks when I’m outside. She doesn’t care whether or not I’m wearing makeup and she doesn’t even care if I’m properly prepared, all that she cares about is that I pay her visits as often as I can. Over the years, I’ve come to find that hiking is not only a release for me, but a coping mechanism as well. When I’m overwhelmed with every day anxieties (as I often find myself), I go for a walk outside and the feeling of the wind on my face and the sun permeating my clothes down to my skin is all it takes for me to relax. I can cry, I can laugh, or I can just be. It doesn’t matter because as long as I’m outside, I’m calm. Nature is the best medicine I’ve found and it doesn’t require a prescription from anyone but me. When I’m ever lost in life or confused or need some perspective, I gohiking. As long as I’m away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and I can hear the wind in the pine branches above my head or the breeze cascading through the tall grass below me, I’m happy. The wild places I’ve experiences over the past few years have brought me to more revelations than I have fingers and toes.
I hike because Mother Nature is the most authentic form of church I’ve found in my life and I honestly don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t escape to it any time of the day or night. She’s there for me and listens without judgment and she knows every single one of my secrets. The wilderness and the wild places I’ve discovered all have a piece of my heart and they each have their own special memories associated with them. Nature has saved my life and it’s put me on a path I’m so excited to be on. I cannot wait to see what life has in store for me and I know that as long as I can get away to my beloved hidden gems of the earth, life will always be okay.
So, why do you get outside?
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.