When I tell people I love hiking, I always get different reactions. Some people think its “cool”, others think I’m a badass and a select few think I’m boring. Most of the time, I go on to say, I love hiking as well as other outdoor activities, to give people an idea that outdoors people aren’t one dimensional. The truth is, I am a hiker, peak bagger, photographer, camper, road tripper, weekend warrior, entrepreneur, student, worker, brother, son, friend, wanna be rock climber, skier, and sunset chaser. Those are but a few things I can use to describe myself but when it comes down to it, hiker is perhaps the one trait I love so much, I could never give it up. It’s usually hard to explain to people why I love it so much, it’s as if asking a blind person to describe the color orange. However, it is possible to break it down into components and the component of hiking I want to talk about is the overall benefits you can get from hiking
Being active and the health benefits related to it are perhaps the most obvious benefit of hiking. Statistically, If you hike only once a week and for about three hours, you are already more physically active than about 80% of the United States population. Additionally, as it is outlined by the American College of Sports Medicine, you are meeting the Physical Activity guidelines for the week and by doing so, you dramatically decrease your risk for Cardiovascular disease (the number one killer in the US), Hypertension, Diabetes, etc… But why don’t I just go to the gym and run on the treadmill you may ask? Well, hiking is more than just the physical component; it’s the mental, emotional and social component.
Some of my best friends are those I hike with often and when I get done with a hike, I come back feeling better about life. My energy levels sky rocket, my motivation and desire to achieve whatever it is that I seek goes higher too (it helps that my goals are tied into living an amazing life of adventure). If you still believe you can achieve all this by going to the gym, you are correct, which is why I go to the gym 3-5 times a week. However, the final component is one you can only find in nature: peace and tranquility. As you breathe in the fresh mountain air and walk amongst the trees, over mountain passes, and near beautiful alpine lakes and waterfalls; you get an amazing feeling of tranquility, peace, and adventure. Can you get at the gym or at home?
So I ask these people, what is stopping you?
I want you to close your eyes and I’m going to paint a picture for you. Imagine you are sitting on a rock and if you try hard enough you can find one that’s very comfortable, especially at this particular location. On this rock, you stare off into the distance ahead of you and as you breathe in deeply and exhale, you look up towards the towering Mount Gould in the distance and the wall of sharp jagged rocks. The sun is setting behind those mountains and on either side of you is a steep but gentle sloping hill; you realize you are sitting in the middle of the U-shaped canyon you had previously set gaze on from near the end of your hike. Now you’re down here and on your left is a beautiful turquoise lake. However, since the sun is setting behind the jagged peaks, the lake now has a blue-ish hue and there is small sliver of light beaming directly onto the edge of the lake as well as the mountains on the left side. Within than sliver of light on the lake, there is the absolute most beautiful turquoise color. Since it is late, only you and your friend are there. You sit there in the stillness and soon your mind finds a comfort it has never felt before. You are mesmerized by the scene unfolding in front of you.
You take a minute to snap a few photos before heading back down towards you car and it doesn’t end there. On the way down to the car, you are awed by the sheer beauty of where you’re at and you immerse yourself into it. Do you still think you can find something like this if you don’t put on those boots and hit the trail? If so let me know!