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Why Do You Hike?

SpinnTwin Tarp and Bug Bag

It’s a pretty simple question, but have you ever stopped to really think about it?

What is it about hiking and backpacking that motivates you enough to go outside, give up the so called ‘comforts’ of home, and sleep outdoors?

Is it the sense of freedom? Sense of adventure? The peace and quite? Solitude? Time with friends? Testing abilities? Sharing your exploits on social media, or justifying your expensive gear habit?

Lately, I’ve been questioning the ‘why’ to a lot of things that take up my time. Partly as a time-management exercise, but also to help me better understand what’s important.

So, why do YOU hike?

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    Great article Brian. I have been thinking along similar lines lately and especially 11th/12th of Jan when I spend 2 great days hiking in the Cheviots and the fierce weather that accompanied my camp on the night. I was confined to the tent for nearly 12 hours and this very topic was one I thought alot about.

    I came to the conclusion that for me, I see hiking as a sport. A sometimes gruelling sport (weather and terrain dependent) that requires good preparation and good execution. I normally like to hike long distances with a wildcamp and a return hike the day after.

    I love the distance, I love the rough terrain, I love the often poor weather. I love being alone and beyond the reach of a mobile signal; the sense of exhausted achievement when I get home, always with a story to tell the family.

    That for me is why I hike.

    All the best, Keefusoutdoors

  • Allen Bishop

    Thanks for the good read and the “Brain Candy” . Why do I hike? The time I spend in nature resets my clock, whether it is hiking, bicycling or camping. It is getting up early and listening to the woods awaken. It is setting up camp eating a meal and listen to the world quiet the day and the night come alive while enjoying a cup of tea. It is becoming one with nature once again, fulfilling the body’s deep primal need. It is living, not existing.

  • Kate

    Hiking for me is an escape from society and it is a way to connect with nature. It’s an activity to obtain tranquility. Most importantly, hiking gives me a sense of appreciation.

  • Carl Nelson

    I think my greatest reason is that I enjoy the focus on the moment, yet progression towards a goal that hiking brings. Hiking gives me an immediate connection to the world around me; what is happening exactly then matters far more than other intangible concerns. I also stay aware that I have a goal in mind, and the only way to get there is to let the next moment follow this one. It reminds me that where I am and where I’m going are directly connected.

    I wouldn’t say that I do it to test my abilities, but there’s a pleasurable competence that comes from the completion of a challenging trail, the ability to thrive in differing conditions and environments, and the mastery of skills such as navigation that come from hiking.

  • The main reason for me to hike is to disconnect. Disconnect from the everyday stress and all the to-do lists made by yourself or your work. For me it’s the greatest way there is to relax and just live in the moment. I do tend to need at least two nights out to really let go of everything and just relax.
    Everything is that much simpler when you’re in the woods. It’s just one foot in front of the other. Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, get up when you’re done sleeping. You don’t have to worry about anything else but where to put up your shelter or where the best spot for a lunch break is.
    I’ve noticed that the more stress I got around me, at work or at home, the more I feel the need to hike as a way to recharge my batteries. Of course another reason is the chance to see spectacular views and amazing mountains :-)

  • Alane

    I enjoy being self-sufficient. Getting a break from what’s going on at home and simplifying. Whittling down the weight of my pack is an enjoyable challenge. Alone or with friends is both good though.

  • I relish being self-sufficing. obtaining an opening from what is going on on reception and simplifying. Whittling down the burden of my pack is pleasing challenge. Alone or with friends is each sensible tho.

    • I love the challenge of carrying less without feeling like I am missing anything.

  • Sporty Spice

    I’m a little late to the question but I hike for a variety of reasons. First and foremost to clear my head. Spending time in nature and stopping to set up my camera for photos focuses me on the “right now” opposed to things in my life that may be stressing me out or making me sad. I’ll stand on at the bottom of a waterfall and marvel or stop and listen to nothing in the woods and it all makes sense. The other minor reasons are seeing the beauty of nature and exercise. A hike up 2500 ft of elevation is good for the legs!