Stepping onto a trail is one of the most rewarding feelings; it’s the promise of adventure, the acknowledgment of difficulty, the dedication to the final ascent. For me, hiking is the perfect excuse to turn a dog walk or a reflection into an outdoor activity that leaves me exhausted, often aching from the strain I put my body through, but satisfied beyond measure, balanced in my mindset, and confident that the next hike will be that much more enjoyable. Regular physical activity conditions the body and allows you to push past your limits, redefining your abilities; hiking is no different. The more you hike, the more pronounced these feelings will become.
When I’m finished hiking, I feel…
Exhausted. Physically, mentally and emotionally. Hikes will test your endurance, persistence, and often even your wits. Especially arduous hikes involving scrambling and climbing. Be prepared to feel like you did something with your day that drained your energy and emotion.
Aching. Specifically, I feel the aches and pains of boulders, trees, brush, and encounters with mother nature. If you go for a hike and come back scratch-free, you didn’t push yourself to see all that you could have seen. Adventures come with cuts, bruises and the occasional injury. You don’t look forward to this, but you accept that there is price to pay for seeing untamed, unadulterated natural beauty that is hidden throughout our world.
Satisfied. Having spent your energy, time and often a few bucks on your hiking adventure, many question whether or not it is all worth it. Absolutely. 100%. The only time I’m not satisfied with a hike is when mother nature decides I’m not meant to make it to the finish line, to see the summit. And even then, the work it takes to get to a point where the snow, ice or other obstacles prevent you from continuing is satisfying as it is. There is a personal joy that can be found in recognizing your limits, and then challenging them, either in casual exploration or arduous ascents. Even gentle hikes, without many elevation changes or obstacles can prove to be satisfying in that the activity brings us out of our daily lives, out of our cubicles and carpool lanes, and into the woods or the mountains or the deserts or the beaches of the world. An in-person session with nature is more satisfying than any desktop wallpaper image could ever convey.
Balanced. Hiking adds balance to my life. Nature offers offers both solace and serenade; we escape from the noises of cities, the conversations of peers, the constant connectivity to everything electronic, and, in this peace, we find birds chirping, leaves rustling, fresh smells of flowers blooming and rain falling. Especially now, in a time where we are almost incessantly stimulated but he world around us, taking a step into the woods and onto a dirt path can lead you to a calm place that allows you to reevaluate achievements and struggles, as well as disconnect from it all and give your mind time to wander.
Confident. Last but not least, you cannot help but feel confident after completing a hike. Even if you had doubts or fears about completing the journey, pushing yourself too hard, or whether that skinned shin was worth it, you cannot help but feel stronger and that much more confident in your personal abilities. You did it. No matter what was thrown in your way, you finished your hike. It’s a small victory the continues to build upon itself the more often you go hiking. Your confidence will only continue to increase the more trails and summits you put under your belt.
Needless to say, I’m a bit biased when it comes to hiking. It’s one of my favorite pastimes and something that was instilled in me from a very young age. Nature offers me adventures that help me grow as an individual, no matter how exhausting or painful they may turn out to be, and rewards me with satisfaction, balance and confident.
If I’ve piqued your curiosity or you were already looking for your next hike, head over to our calendar for the latest CannaVenture® events.