Fellow outdoor blogger Tom Mangan, from Two-Heel Drive, has issued a challenge to the hiking blogosphere to describe “why we hike”. Part of the challenge is to write this post in only 15 minutes with 5 minutes for proofreading. I love a challenge and my stop watch is ready so here it is:
I have hiked for most of my life; my father and Boy Scouts introduced me to it at a young age. To be honest I didn’t really enjoy hiking when I was younger. I found it muddy, physically exhausting and did not see the point in putting in all that effort to temporarily get to a higher elevation. Back then I hiked without a real passion for it.
Then one July day, shortly after I graduated high school, my father asked me to hike Mount Washington with him and I agreed. We woke up at 4 am, packed the car and set off towards Pinkham Notch well before the sun was up. Several hours later we arrived at the trailhead and I was in the presence of peaks that were higher and more magnificent than anything I had seen up until that point. We cleared tree line, climbed up Tuckerman’s Ravine and encountered remnants of snow. The sky was cloudless, temperatures were warm and we could see for miles. We reached the summit and I didn’t feel tired, I felt excited. After all this was the highest peak in the northeast, home to the world’s worst weather and I was standing on it. My father and I descended down Huntington Ravine and made it back to the car just as the sun was beginning to set. We were so tired on the drive home that we talked continuously to keep ourselves alert and awake. I got home, felt a desire to get back on the trail and wondered what is next. Then I heard about the NH 48 4,000 footer list. I thought that I could do it since I had already climbed the tallest one on the list and was officially hooked on hiking. For the next several years my father and I spent many weekends driving to NH to climb 4000 foot peaks. He has finished his 48 and I have one left. I have also done dozens of hikes with a close group of friends.
So the challenge was to answer “why we hike”. I hike because it has brought me closer to my friends and family. I hike because I have fallen in love with the challenge of taking on a new peak. I hike because it has taken me to beautiful places such as Colorado, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota and New England. Lastly, I hike because it provides a sense of peace and a brief separation from life’s stresses which helps keep everything in perspective. I hike because it is who I am and it is what I love to do.