I’ve often been asked the question “what do you get out of hiking?” To answer that question in only one sentence would be nearly impossible for me, so I figured I would sum up a few of the reasons why I love being in the mountains in this first blog post. They are reasons that I’m sure many fellow outdoor enthusiasts would agree with.
To start, hiking and scrambling are fantastic ways to challenge not only your body, but also your mind. It’s proven that getting out into nature greatly reduces stress and anxiety levels. There’s also something so rewarding about pushing yourself when you think you can’t go anymore. Your legs might ache, and you might get so out of breath that you feel like your body is ready to give up, but once you reach that stunning panoramic view at the top of the mountain you forget everything you were just feeling and feel nothing but pure joy and satisfaction. As you sit and eat your lunch at the top of a mountain summit while gazing at the valleys and mountain peaks, you can’t help but feel empowered knowing that you accomplished something you may not have thought you were capable of. Also, talk about having lunch with a view!
Aside from the many psychological benefits of hiking, it’s fairly obvious that trudging up a mountain is nothing short of amazing for you physically. You truly challenge your body in every way possible. You need to have good stamina, strong muscles, and being flexible never hurt anyone. Scrambling and walking on scree teach you to trust your bodies movements and get used to the feeling of slipping and sliding on a sloped mountainside, while ridge walking can help you become confident in your footing at great heights with shear drops on either side of you. It only takes a few hikes until you start to notice a huge improvement in your strength, endurance and stability.
It’s a given that one of the absolute best parts of hiking is the phenomenal views that you get to witness by using nothing but your own two feet to get you there. Living in Alberta means that I have some of the most scenic National Parks in the world right in my own backyard. Some people take flights to tropical locations, and others like to take in the night life in the big cities, but I myself prefer the solitude and beauty of nature. I know I’m not alone in this. After you huff and puff your way up a mountain with a view of only the ridge and the open sky above it for hours, it’s a magical feeling to reach the very top and see endless mountain peaks beyond a vast valley. Usually the view is accompanied by sun rays beaming through the low hanging clouds, casting shadows that dance along the valley floors and mountainsides. If you’re really lucky you may even have a gorgeous view of an emerald coloured lake off in the distance.
Of all the things that I’ve enjoyed the most about getting out into the mountains, I think getting to meet some really great like-minded people has got to be at the top of my list. It seems almost impossible to meet an unfriendly person on the trails. I’ve also made some amazing friends just by networking over a little app we all know and love called Instagram. There is a huge community of hikers and mountain climbers that use the app to discover new locations and make plans with fellow mountain lovers. It’s strange, who knew the combination of an app and a love for the mountains could have the ability to connect people the way it does and create such amazing friendships. It’s a funny thing, that Instagram.
I could honestly go on forever about why I love hiking so much, but I think I’ve covered the most important reasons. From here on out I’ll be posting about specific trail locations, giving tips on how to get to these places, and I will also be including photos as a visual guide of what to expect. Once in a while I may post about my second love, road tripping, but be expecting mostly mountains.
Thanks for following along!