Some hikers hit the trail to move blood and build muscle, to discover a new view, feel the rewards of a hard climb or challenge a fear. Some burn off stress, get away from daily life, or walk and visit with a friend. Some wear ear buds to push a compelling mantra into their brains, some go to exercise the dog, log new entries on their birding list, and others find magical photographic light or seek out neat rocks, and find feathers to bring home.
Another way to experience a hike is to slow down – a lot.
On a familiar trail to you, (less likely to get lost) pull out the ear buds, wear silent clothing, refrain from talking both to your self and others for just a while and move like smoke on a gentle breeze. Slowly, timelessly and breathing deeply follow a level path and a whole new energy enters the body and quiets the mind.
If you’re wound up it may take 15-20 minutes of this slow pace to really settle and feel it in your system, but once it does, just coast or sit for a while. Let your gaze shift to daydream. Listen to birds and plants and trees alive in their world. Lay down and watch the clouds drift, or branches sway. Roll over and smell the earth, the grasses or forest floor – you’ll be amazed at the perfume, especially at the base of fir or pine tree when the sun has shone on it for awhile.
Why we hike doesn’t always have to fit the mold of exuberant movement. Being out there whether active or not brings balance to some of the nonsense of daily life.
If you feel energized and refreshed at the end of it all, then tick the box called, ” Food for body mind and soul ” as well done for today – yay you!