Happy Tuesday! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list I’ve decided to stray a bit from the bookish path. Instead, I’ll be discussing the physical trails that I love to tread: hiking mountains. When I was in middle school I hiked my first mountain with my dad and I’ve been hooked ever since. Fortunately I live in an area with a plethora of mountains an hour or two away, making it fairly easy to plan hiking trips on a moment’s notice. The joy of hiking is something I think you have to experience to fully understand, but I’ll try my best to put it into words.
1. Being connected with nature. This is an obvious one, but it’s arguably one of my most important reasons. When you’re deep in the forest on your way up the mountain with no cell service or way of contacting others, you suddenly realize how detached you are from civilization. It’s a liberating feeling to have only nature and your fellow hikers for company.
2. The trails. Although the summit is the ultimate destination, the trails themselves should be equally as appreciated. Some of my favorite things to come across on trails are bridges, waterfalls, lush fields of green or flowers, and the occasional sign left by someone in their travels.
3. An alternate way of exercising. Let me tell you: hiking up a mountain is hard work. However, the great thing about hiking is that it’s an incredibly rewarding form of exercise. From beautiful views to priceless time with friends or family, the perks of hiking definitely outweigh whatever fatigue your muscles may be feeling.
4. Always feels new. No matter how many times I hike the same trail it never feels stale, monotonous, or boring. There are so many variables involved– the weather, who you’re hiking with, etc.– that each hike really is an exciting new adventure.
5. Hikers are friendly. This is a generalization, of course, but I’ve found that the majority of people (and dogs!) I meet on the trails are very friendly. You can usually count on fellow hikers to say hello and either ask you how the summit is or give yo an update on how it was, depending on if they’re in front of or behind you. You never know who you’ll meet on a hike!
6. Spending time with friends and family. I always go hiking with at least one friend or family member, both for safety’s sake and because it makes it so much more enjoyable. It’s great spending time with people without having to worry about technology or other life things interrupting. Besides, once you hike with someone, chances are that you’ll both want to go hiking again!
7. Reaching the summit. This is the part of the hike that people generally look forward to the most. There’s nothing like cresting that ridge or popping out of the tree line to find that you’ve finally made it to the top. VICTORY!
8. Breathtaking views. If you’re lucky enough to go hiking on a day with a clear blue sky, then you’ll likely be able to see some amazing views at the top. Everything looks so different from such a high perspective, and it always astounds me how incredibly small we are when compared to these behemoth natural giants.
9. A rare experience. Despite the fact that hundreds of people hike mountains every day, I’m willing to bet that hikers are still a minority of the overall population. Whether it’s due to geography, financial problems, time constraints, health issues, or other reasons, a large number of people never have the opportunity to view the world from atop the summit of a mountain that they have hiked. I always feel lucky when I look out from the summit because I’m seeing something that few people experience in their lifetimes.
10. Sense of accomplishment. Whenever I finish a hike I’m overwhelmed by such a positive feeling of accomplishment. It’s a special moment when you can look up at a mountain from down below and say, “I’ve been there!”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list and these pictures of my many hiking adventures over the years!
Do you enjoy hiking? Do you have any funny, weird, or memorable hiking stories that you’d like to share? Have you read any good books about hiking? Let me know in the comments section below!