Hiking can be therapeutic. Sometimes it seems the only stress relief for us can be found while trekking through the trees.
If you’re stuck in a job that’s eating away at you day after day, searching for something more fulfilling and feeling lethargic, it might just be time to expand your horizons, and there’s no better way to do so than to simply hike your heart out.
A lot of hikers have claimed to hit the trail as a form of reflection. To a certain extent, this is true, but those moments of solace rarely involve thoughts surrounding bills, work, and the rat race of life. They’re usually focused on their hike, the beauty of the nature they’re observing, and the physical obstacles they’ve overcome throughout their day.
If you meet someone on an average day, small talk and questions such as how you make a living or idle chit-chat that amounts to nothing can be the norm. If you cross paths with someone on the trail? Chances are you will be exchanging stories of what you’ve just accomplished, the wildlife further down the path, and quiet nods of understanding.
Allowing the trivial drivel of the day to day grind to penetrate your thoughts is uncommon. For once, you aren’t going through the motions to benefit someone else. This is your time, your hike, your escape from the outside world and your connection to peace. All the ailments of your normal life are left behind with your footprints at the trailhead. They exist back there and you exist here, in the moment.
You owe no debt on the trail. Your only task at hand being what you yourself can or cannot do. If you become weak and need to stop everything without notice, you do so. There’s no paperwork pressure where the deadline could determine your performance review. No managerial sludge kicked in your face should you need a break while facing an uphill climb. When you do stop? You’re still on your time. You choose when you’re ready, willing, and able. Until then, maybe you’ll have a snack and listen to the wind whistle. Maybe you’ll notice the frogs or the birds, the ancient trees of the forest, the flowers or the mountain in the distance. They wait for you. What else will do the same in your life if you decide to stop?
We live in a world where there are expectations and demands. Everyone wants your time and they want it now. Even your own desires are shoved in your face through ads on your social media feeds. You can’t search for a new pair of shoes without being reminded to click and purchase them as soon as possible. This is the fast lane, instant gratification, your mind struggling to push it away before it consumes you. 25% off for the next 24 hours!
You are strong enough to ignore it. To unplug and disconnect from it. Cell service is scarce once you hike deep enough in the backcountry. The trees won’t charge you to take shelter from the rain, the birds won’t post a link to iTunes so you can hear their newest song, and the streams won’t try to sell you on their latest and greatest expensive water craze. These are gifts which won’t require a birthday or a holiday or a vacation to the tropics where, let’s face it, your credit cards will once again be demanded.
You might have plans this weekend. Dinner and a movie, maybe? We’ll advise you to to change them, just this once. Put the purse or wallet away and take a hike. The trail is inviting you to see what it has to offer. My prediction is there’s one not too far from where you reside.
If you go and don’t enjoy yourself, I’ll take full responsibility. If the weather forecast is hot and humid, the sweat you build up and the calories you burn are also gifts of nature. They cost nothing to make you feel healthier and happier. I’m willing to bet they will. Are you?
If you are heading out this weekend, drop us a comment and let us know where you’re off to. We’d love to hear how it goes as well!