For some people hiking seems like an utterly stupid thing to do. Well, they are right, if you think about it. These days walking is not needed, you can get to places in perfect comfort with several different methods. You don’t have to walk. Unless you have received a few blows too many in the head and gone a bit dumb.
Then you hike.
Well, of course there are other reasons too. But often times it looks like that to many people. You should have been there, when people of a cafe in Esch-sur-Sûre, Luxembourg, heard that we were crossing the whole country on foot. The looks we received! And it wasn’t even that silly thing to do.
There are reasons, other than having killed too many brain cells. I personally love the way a good hike offers you a complete and total take off from the everyday life, the rat race. While hiking I seek solitude, peace and quiet. I usually leave my phone home when I leave. Just to avoid even the temptation of checking the social media channels.
In the middle of wilderness life returns to basics. You walk, eat and sleep. Repeat. It is rather meditative. You focus on surviving. Where is the next place to get water? Is there firewood available? How far is the next place to sleep? If there is a bit of luck, you are able to do this in the most beautiful surroundings, untamed and pure nature.
Hiking alone takes you to such silence, it is almost magical. If you stop, and stand still. Listen to the sound of silence, broken by an occasional bird, or a breeze passing by. Makes you feel small. Makes you feel free.
Of course there is the social aspect to hiking too. Usually on well walked trails you meet people every now and then. Especially, when the evening comes and it is time to stop. Hikers gather around the camp fire to chat, share and compare the experiences over a pot of food. The people you meet on longer hikes, are more or less thinking on the same wave length with you. So it is easy to get the chatting going. They usually share the same pains and frustrations with you. Sometimes you find friends for life and at least you’ll leave a few new trip tips richer.
Hiking usually includes some amounts of discomfort. There are blisters, bruises and sore muscles. Not so comfortable sleeping places, rain, cold, heat, insects, nettles, wild bears and the hiking food is usually bad. Unless you put ridiculous amounts of either money, or time and effort into it. Still, people do it. Despite all that suffering.
The key is to look past the misery. Get your eyes up from the trail and see, feel and
be a part of that wilderness you managed to put yourself into. Climbing to the top of a mountain is immensely rewarding. When you look back the trail you just walked up. You have the feeling of achievement of coming over yourself.
For some of us, there is also the side of hiking being a great exercise, which it indeed is. I rather hike, than go to the gym. I have a slight obsession of going somewhere, of moving.
Also, the moment when you return from a weeks hike, back to home. I guarantee, your bed has never felt so comfortable. The shower so luxurious and the fresh vegetables and fruits so tasty! So just go and take a hike, it will be worth it!