Life Philosophy

Why I Hike

Since finishing my education, I have become something of an avid, if amateur, hiker. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination. And I don’t really have thru-hiking ambitions despite section hiking a lot of the Appalachian Trail near where I now live. But the gorgeous views, the strenuous challenges, and the activity that comes with hiking are certainly worth it.

Why do I hike, then, some ask? Is it the scenery? Partly. Is it the challenge? Partly. Is it the activity? Partly. Is it the adventure? Mostly.

We live in a world, now, with technology and the earth charted, that most people would say there are no more adventures. Mars is still distant and we seem many decades, if not centuries, away from any real future of colonization there. The problem with the notion that the “earth is already explored” and there are “no more adventures” to be had is that examines things at a collective, species, level rather than an individual level. For all the people who say “the earth is explored,” how many of them have actually done any exploring and adventuring on their own? My guess is very few.

We ought to want to live. We should seek the thrill and exhilaration of life rather than the comforts of modernity. Those who scream there are no more adventures and explorations to be had are the ones wasting away their lives in the city they were born in, the city they were raised in, the city they will die in.

Individually, we all have adventures and explorations to have. It is a pity that some people who are born and raised by the great trails, the great mountains, the great falls, the great protected swaths of land where nature and wildlife roam and live free, that they never actually step foot on those hollowed grounds. As an individual, there is plenty of adventure and exploring to do. One must simply have the eyes to see.

In hiking, I choose life over security. In hiking, I choose adventure over comfort. In hiking, I choose nature over artificiality.

The scenes are great. The people you meet are great. The restaurants and breweries that you visit to recover and refuel are great. Life can still be great if we make it great for ourselves. Don’t listen to the doomsayers and the naysayers. Live your life. You only have it once. Don’t waste it always in the comfort of where you live.

Cascade Falls, Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.
Wolf Rock, Stone Mountain State Park in North Carolina.
Stone Mountain Falls, North Carolina.
The view from Dragon’s Tooth, Appalachian Trail, Virginia.
Virginia’s “Moors” in Grayson Highland State Park, Mount Rogers Trail.
A wild pony in the Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia.

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