What is The Nature of Hiking?
An Introduction to The Nature of Hiking
This website, TheNatureOfHiking.com, is dedicated to the art and joy of hiking in the great outdoors. We cover most of the topics of concern and interest to both inexperienced, casual hikers to the most avid. These topics range from safety, survival and equipment issues to those more internal factors which are our motivations that make us WANT to hike. These motivations vary widely and often change over time as we hike different areas, discover new interests, and mature as individuals.
The nature of hiking is that it provides human satisfaction for many varied drives within each individual. The following list is intended to “paint a picture” – a picture of why people love to hike. It encompasses a very wide assortment of activities that touch the human soul through our multiple senses in a way that leads to strong feelings of satisfaction, joy, and peace. It leaves us with a special “connectedness” with nature. Read this list slowly to let the overall picture develop. Visualize it, feel it..
Nature Hiking Pleasures
- The joy of exercising in the fresh air,
- The satisfaction of getting fit and healthy and staying that way
- The seclusion and quietness of the forest or desert,
- The enjoyment of all the sounds of nature, like the the babbling brooks and roaring waterfalls, or the wind whistling through the pines
- The sense-sharpening smells of the earth, the forest, the desert, and the flowers,
- The delight in seeing the beauty of our natural world
- The discovery of new trails and where they lead
- Finding animal tracks and trying to figure out who made them and what they were doing,
- The abruptness of a deer suddenly crashing through the woods nearby, or the startle of a large bird flushing almost under our feet
- Smiling at the frogs and turtles, and dragonflies perched on reeds by a pond
- The satisfaction of “GPS-ing” new trails and transferring them to computer maps
- The fun of geocaching and discovering hidden treasures
- The challenge in learning the names of plants, flowers, birds, trees, rocks,
- The thrill of catching fish from hidden streams, rivers, ponds and lakes
- The exploration of old mines, abandoned buildings, old foundations and cellar holes, and wondering who lived there, what they did, and how life was for them
- The challenge of bagging your game of choice – with a camera or a gun
- Learning the art of survival in the wilderness and the reward of feeling less dependent on today’s modern world
- Blazing brand new trails to connect older ones or to a get to a new destination
- Sharing these wonderful adventures with loved ones
- Watching your favorite dogs running free in the outdoors
- Exposing ourselves and our children to the “real world”, our Mother the Earth – without which “man’s world” wouldn’t and couldn’t exist
- The surprise of finding unusual animals, insects, birds and plants along the trail
- Learning to identify native birds by their voices alone
- Pondering the immense number of man-hours of labor that were spent by our ancestors in building the thousands of miles of rock walls in New England.
- The subtle pleasure of seeing nature’s colors and the almost infinite variety of shades and hues
- The reward of finding delicious wild edible plants and mushrooms on the trail after careful study of guides and manuals
- Watching squirrels and other small animals engaged in their daily routines
- Capturing nature in your mind and with your camera to bring it all home to enjoy later and share with friends,
- And the satisfaction of coming home tired, but with a sense of accomplishment and inner peace.
If you weren’t already familiar with the deep feelings you get from some of the above activities, you probably wouldn’t be visiting this site and reading this. My wife is 69 years old and I’m 71, and we both had the great fortune of having been raised in the country, and have camped and hiked most of our lives. We are very familiar with most of the above hiking experiences. We hike several times each week, as well as spending additional time on the trails on horseback, mountain bikes, and ATV riding. We have found, and you probably will also, that the more hiking joys you experience, the more you’ll become interested in enjoying other hiking pleasures. No wonder hiking attracts people by the thousands to the trails. Fortunately there are so many trails in so many places that we often see no other people at all during many of our hikes. The seclusion, quiet and peace are not hard to find if you know where to look and how to do it.
The Nature of Hiking website is all about the pleasures of hiking, plus all the information you’ll need before you hit the trails. The Planning, Safety, Equipment, Trails, Maps, Fitness, Beauty, Observation, Photography, Learning, Bushcraft, Adventure and Fun of hiking are all right here. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please comment in the blog, and we’ll cover it.
Here’s a new twist to getting trail info on hiking trails. Google is now adding hiking trails to it’s Street View capability so we can preview and explore trails from the comfort of our own laptops. It’s called Trekker. Google says “The Trekker will allow Google’s Street View team to explore national parks, ruins, castles and other great hikes all while capturing and uploading photos of the trek.”
If you have any views on this, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.
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Filed under: The Joy of Nature
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