Why I Hike

We have been hiking all day, going on 12 hours of walking; through valleys, over passes, along creeks, through meadows, and now along a grassy cliff edge, with views stretching to the mountains to the north, which we had been walking through for the past several days and are now receding behind us.

I feel drained, there is very little energy left in me, but for reasons that I don’t fully understand, my body keeps going forward, my legs keep moving with a rhythm not entirely controlled by me. I’m weak, having drained the energy that I had consumed an hour or so before. I can feel the tiredness in my body. I have a smile on my face.

Wrapped up in the simple task of walking lies an entire range of experiences not easily attained or recognized in our modern daily lives. I often wonder how I could capture the sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, simplicity, and appreciation that is so easily found while hiking and backpacking, and apply it to the everyday.

In the end however, the combination of experiences and feelings gained seem to be uniquely tied to the simple act of placing one foot in front of the other and moving ourselves through the scenery at a pace that allows us to notice the detail of the world around us. For me, this is a major reason why I am continually drawn to the mountains, coast, deserts, or wherever else I can get out and experience the natural world, push myself a little, and enjoy everything that makes hiking and backpacking great.