“Hiking, again, seriously?!” 16 year old me thought that life was so tough. Going hiking every weekend was my idea of hell. I couldn’t wait until I was an adult so I could make my own decisions – and those decisions would be not to hike! Fortunately I have changed a lot in the past 5 years and have turned into a mountain loving hiker. So here are 5 reasons why I used to hate hiking and 5 reasons why I have grown to love it.
Why I hated it:
1 – So. Much. Physical activity.
Hiking is strenuous, both on the body and the mind. As a teenager I did NOT enjoy this level of activity. I wanted to sit on the computer in the basement for hours on end, not be outside enjoying wilderness.
2 – No cellphone for 8 hours?!
The idea of not being able to text my friends for an entire day seemed like some kind of sick torture. Why wasn’t there any cellphone reception in the mountains? I would still bring my phone to the top of the mountain, and I would still try and get service. FYI as much as you try, cellphone service in the deep of the rocky mountains is not an easy thing to come by.
3 – Socializing with real people.
Teenagers aren’t known for their extraordinary communication skills, and I was no exception. I did NOT want to have to go to the mountains and talk with real people for hours on end.
4 – Waking up early.
In order to get to the mountains at a reasonable time I would be woken up at 6am, and I wasn’t very impressed by this. I would sleep the whole car ride and then be torn away from the car to climb a mountain in a zombie like state, the whole time day dreaming of sleeping the whole way home.
5 – “The end is near”
These four words deceived me many times in my childhood of hiking. Everything looks so much closer when you’re hiking, but what looks like 20 minutes will often take 2 hours. I just wanted to be done the hike already so I could check my text messages!
Why I love it now:
1 – No cellphone for 8 hours!
In a world that relies on technology, cellphones and social media it can be hard to go a day without. Most people are guilty of spending too much time glued to technology – I know I am! A day out in the mountains is so refreshing because it is not possible to use your phone for the duration of the day, not only that, but because you are out enjoying nature you don’t even think about technology.
2 – Refreshment for the mind and soul.
I am an over thinker. I think of every possible thing that could go wrong in every possible situation. Except when I am out in the mountains. It’s completely refreshing for my mind to not worry about anything for an entire day, and when I get back to real life I am left with a refreshed mind.
3 – Fun physical activity.
Running around the block 10 times is not my idea of a fun time (although I applaud you if you enjoy that!) To me hiking is a fun way to get exercise without completely focusing on the fact that I am exercising the whole time.
4 – Stress Relief.
Hiking is the healthiest way that I am able to relieve stress. It would be just as easy to drink a bottle of wine every night but that wouldn’t make me feel any better about life (although a glass every now and then doesn’t hurt). When I am hiking I feel stress free and that’s a hard feeling to get in the bustle of every day life.
5 – Quality times with quality people.
Some of my best relationships have been formed out on a hiking trail. Being out in the wilderness gives you the chance to get to know someones raw and true being – without a filter. It’s a great way to get closer to someone you have known for a long time, or to start a brand new relationship with someone.
I am glad I went through the “hardships” of hiking as a teenager. They taught me a lot of things like persistence and perseverance and eventually gave me a sense of balance and peace in my life. Now I look back and realize I really didn’t have it bad at all, I had a great upbringing full of life and opportunity, and I appreciate it so much. So no matter what stage in life you may be in, I suggest you try a hike for yourself and see how it benefits you!