“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” –John Muir
It’s a beautiful world we live in, and we are only here for a limited time, so the way I see it, we should explore it while we can. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of daily life and forget stillness, but when we slow down, breathe, and explore the natural world, we become happier people. We all should take a hike now and again. It might seem like hard work at the time, or perhaps you will be immersed and joyous in the moment, but regardless, you will be happier in the end. The trail, the trees, the mountains, the grass, the flowers. So here is to taking a month, a week, a weekend, a day, or an hour even, to throw backpack on and move one foot in front of the other, breath by breath, through your park, forest, or mountain range!
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain, or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir
I have a lot of backpacks, and I love them like friends. There is a certain simplicity and freedom they enable, and each one in my gear closet serves its unique purpose, and represents its own type of adventure; day hiking, climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, or even picnicking! I have a ten year old Prophet in there that is all but retired. Call me sentimental, but I could never get rid of it, that prophet is an old trusty friend that saw me through some of the greatest adventures of my life. I think that a lot of the worlds real problems could be solved with a backpack and hard hike in the woods…maybe I’m just a hopeless, optimistic romantic.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” –John Muir
But…maybe I’m a Realistic, Hopeful, Romantic! A quick Google search confirmed what I knew in my heart…hiking improves your quality of life. Research shows that brisk hiking can reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes significantly! A study of over 60,000 men and women over an 18-year period suggested those who engage in increased physical activity such as hiking are forty percent less likely to have a stroke. Another study of people with memory problems found in a four-year follow up that those who expended the most energy walking were 27 percent less likely to suffer from dementia. Data from the National Walkers Health Study found those that took the longest weekly walks were morel likely to use less medication! Did I mention that hiking lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol, trims your waistline, and improves your mood! See?! Hiking is good medicine!
“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.” –John Muir
There is a power in stillness. By calmly taking our time, we get to our destination quicker than by rushing. I was lucky to learn the importance of tranquility and being present in every step at an early age on a backpack trip through the Sierras with my dad. By surrounding ourselves with beauty, our perception of reality changes. It’s a lesson I have forgotten and relearned more than once. We all have moments closer and further away from the ultimate truth and wonder of life, but without question, I am always happier in the woods.
“The Mountains are calling and I must go.” –John Muir
So on that note, I think I’m going to throw a couple Clif Bars and a bottle of water in my Verto and walk the walk! I hope that everyone reading this has an adventurous summer filled with beauty, nature, exploration, and lots and lots of hiking!!!